Centrify Enters the Japanese Market

I am very pleased to announce today that Centrify has entered the Japanese market for Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) in conjunction with ITOCHU TECHNO-Solutions Corporation, one of Japan’s most trusted sources for IT infrastructure. We now offer a fully localized product for the Japanese market, a localized web site, Centrify employees on the ground in Japan as part of our new Tokyo office, a great partner in ITOCHU to work with, and our first set of Japanese customers. Read the press release here. In this blog I want to talk about why we are excited about the Japanese market.

Centrify Japan websiteJapan is a country of 120 million people and has the third largest GDP in the world (approximately $5 trillion as compared to the US with a GDP of about $17 trillion). From an IT perspective, the size of the Japanese IT market is $136.9B last year according to Statista. The cloud is really taking off per IDC. According to the IDC report, it is estimated that the market size of 2014 came to 180.4 billion yen (approximately $1.5 billion), an increase of 33.6 percent year-on-year. In 2019, it was expected to expand up to 533.7 billion yen (approximately $4.3 billion) of the 2014 ratio of 3.0 times.

Japan graph

(Source: IDC)

As I have discussed in many a blog, including my latest blog on Identity is the New Perimeter, as the world becomes more cloud-y, the traditional approach of securing the perimeter is no longer applicable in a de-perimeterized world. For example, you don’t put anti-virus on your iPad, and while using that iPad at Starbucks in Tokyo, you are not utilizing a corporate firewall while accessing Salesforce.com.

So what can you and should you secure in this cloud and mobile world? I think the focus in this new world shifts to securing the user and their identity, e.g. is it really Tom Kemp using that iPad talking to Salesforce? Should we not require Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to verify that it is really me? And what if 5 minutes later Tom Kemp is accessing Salesforce from, say China, when 5 minutes before he was in Tokyo, should we not disable that user account?

Hence identity is becoming the new perimeter. In other words, the old perimeter in security was about securing the ingress and egress points into the corporate network. With those points dissolving, the focus must shift to the user, especially in light of the fact that more attacks are happening against users and their identities.

Clearly as more SaaS etc. gets deployed, users are drowning in a sea of passwords. This is also true for the Japanese market. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, the average Japanese person has nearly nine digital IDs. A study by TrendMicro detailed that about 70% people reuse passwords, meaning if one account gets phished, damage can be done elsewhere. And like everyone else in the world, people in Japan have a hard time remembering multiple passwords, per a recent study.

But the identity challenge in Japan (and elsewhere) is not just about SaaS single sign-on. Hackers are also realizing that some usernames and passwords are better than others — namely the passwords of privileged accounts. Privileged accounts are the credentials that have “root” and/or “admin” privileges on critical infrastructure, apps and data. Why hack one user’s email account, if you can hack the account of the email admin for an organization, you now get access to all of the users’ email accounts.   [I wrote about this in more detail in a recent blog on Forbes.]

So it is not surprising that when you look at the nature of most of the hacks, they are in fact going after either end and/or privileged users’ identities, with the stealing of passwords for privileged accounts — which are often generic accounts that are shared by IT personnel — having deadlier consequences. Japanese companies and government agencies are not immune to cyberattacks that were the result of compromised credentials (e.g. the recent Japanese Pension Service hack).

So given the state of the cloud market in Japan, the overall size of the Japanese market, and the significant need for identity to provide the new perimeter, we think it is a great time for us to enter the Japanese market. As mentioned above, we have a great Centrify team already on board and working in our Tokyo office, a great partner in ITOCHU TECHNO-Solutions Corporation, and of course the best product for cloud identity by Centrify, winning the top spot in Network World’s review of identity and access management and cloud-based single sign-on products.

And of course it is localized for the Japanese market as shown in screenshots below! So we are quite excited about this opportunity to serve the Japanese market.

portal Japan 2

Japan Portal 3

Japanese portal