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Venafi Expands Machine Identity Management Development Fund to Include World’s Leading Universities

Oxford University and Carnegie Mellon partner with Venafi to create the future of Machine Identity Management

Venafi, the inventor and leading provider of machine identity management, expanded its groundbreaking Machine Identity Management Development Fund to include the world’s leading universities including Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Oxford University. The new Development Fund initiative provides sponsorships for academic research and development into the critical controls and capabilities advancing state-of-the-art machine identity management. Launched in 2018 with $12.5 million, the Machine Identity Management Development Fund already provides organizations’ developers with direct sponsorship from Venafi to accelerate machine identity management research and innovation that futureproof customer and industry success.

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“The Machine Identity Management Development Fund is bringing together the world’s greatest minds to shape the future of machine identity management, one of the most important cybersecurity challenges of this decade”

The new Development Fund program provides direct sponsorship to university research teams and students investing in cutting edge machine identity innovation. Research and development programs can focus on attack tactics and techniques and possible mitigations, as well as applied uses of machine identities, with a particular focus on identities for new types of machines, including those designed for cloud native environments.

To kick off this new Development Fund initiative, Venafi has partnered with Oxford University and CMU. Venafi is sponsoring a full PhD program at Oxford University to investigate machine identity management innovations and create new open-source solutions. At CMU, Venafi sponsored Master’s degree candidates in the Information Networking Institute’s Practicum as part of the College of Engineering. Students explored policy-as-a-code, governance, authentication and authorization in machine identity management open-source projects. Venafi hopes that its sponsorships in this area will improve the industry’s ability to stop misuse and compromise of machine identities by cyber attackers and help organizations modernize their machine identity management programs to improve speed and agility, especially in the cloud.

“Machine identities are quickly growing in importance in the digital world, as they underpin all machine-to-machine communications and online transactions. This is an important area to explore and research, as machine identities are likely to be even more critical to the digital economy than human identities in the near future,” commented Professor Kasper Rasmussen, Oxford University. “Industry and university collaboration is now essential to helping researchers drive forward innovation and solve complex problems facing those in the field. The goal of this program with Venafi is to explore novel ways to establish how machine identities will operate safely and make a better and more secure world for humans.”

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“Venafi’s initiative to partner with CMU has been successful in increasing the awareness around machine identities. Over the Fall-2021 semester, the CMU’s Practicum team designed the foundations of a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) that supports different types of machine identities. In doing so, the students explored the state-of-the-art methodologies and techniques. “At the end of the semester, the students documented their results and presented them to a large group of stakeholders,” said Dr. Mohamed Farag, INI Assistant Teaching Professor. “As the faculty advisor of the practicum team, I appreciate the guidance and support that the students received from Venafi’s domain experts. Venafi’s expertise in the domain of machine identities has been critical to the students’ success in achieving the practicum’s pre-defined goals.”

“The Machine Identity Management Development Fund is bringing together the world’s greatest minds to shape the future of machine identity management, one of the most important cybersecurity challenges of this decade,” commented Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. “The Development Fund is sponsoring innovative new ways to apply intelligence and automation to challenges in governance, authentication, and authorization of machine identities. Companies won’t be able to apply enough security analysts and developers to keep up with the explosion in machine identities. University research is a critical part of the solution to futureproofing Venafi customer success.”

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