Photograph by Getty Images
By Barb Darrow
May 11, 2015

Many companies that are using cloud computing services use more than one cloud. And that’s a problem for folks worried about protecting the security of data and workloads that span those different environments. Anyone who has been gobsmacked by the challenge of managing passwords and logons for their own personal applications can sympathize.

This is a pain that ScaleFT, a startup with $800,000 in seed money from Rackspace (RAX) and CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi among others, wants to ease for business customers.

The company’s first product, Scale Access, is a Certificate Authority, or software which churns out valid but constantly changing security credentials. Each time a user, typically a developer, logs in, Scale Access will generate a unique key that will authenticate her for a predetermined time that can range from few minutes to a whole day.

That key will then give the user access to her current applications which include products like Chef and Ansible system configuration tools and then follow the workload wherever it goes, say to Amazon (AMZN) Web Services, Microsoft (MSFT) Azure or Google (GOOG) Compute Engine public clouds or to a variety of OpenStack private clouds etc, said Jason Luce, formerly VP of Finance for Rackspace who is now CEO of this new endeavor.

Paul Querna, who had been director of corporate strategy at Rackspace, is CTO of the new San Francisco-based company.

The huge, so-called web scale players like AWS and Facebook build this sort of security management tool for their own use, but then again they run their own single, albeit massive, cloud. And, some companies, like Pinterest, that use third-party cloud services likewise have their own tool set, but don’t make it available to the masses, Luce said. With Scale Access now all companies can have cross-cloud security like the industry giants do.

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