MS Buys ID Management Firm Alacris

Microsoft on Monday announced that it had acquired Alacris, a move aimed at strengthening Redmond's offerings in identity and access management solutions.

Alacris' technology uses smart cards to give users access to protected data. Microsoft hopes that the new technology will enable it to strengthen its security solutions on top of currently available technologies such as Active Directory and Microsoft Certificate Solutions.

"Customers have told us that smart cards are becoming an increasingly important part of their authentication and authorization strategy," Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Technology Unit at Microsoft said.

The acquisition is expected to streamline the deployment of smart card technology on Windows-based systems, as well as lower the overall cost by allowing IT departments to manage their own smart card infrastructures.

"We are extremely proud of our work in developing strong authentication solutions," Ron Mac Donell, president and chief executive officer of Alacris said in a statement. "We are thrilled that our technology will become part of Microsoft's security product offerings and that it will be delivered to a larger group of customers."

Microsoft will make a beta version of Alacris' technologies available "at a later date," according to a statement by the company.

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