Sophos Launches Mobile Control Upgrade


Sophos has made its mobile device management application less heavy-handed in dealing with employees who violate corporate rules on their smartphones.

Sophos Mobile Control 2.0, released Monday, blocks access to corporate e-mail when an employee breaks rules set by the IT department. Such violations could include downloading a blacklisted application, jail-breaking an Apple iPhone to run unapproved software, or failing to update the operating system. With version 1.0, defying the rules led to the smartphone being locked.

While the features seem reasonable for corporate-owned phones, people who want to use their personal phones for work may find the restrictions too intrusive, since Sophos gives the employer control. "(Employees) don't have to use their phones for corporate access, but if they do, then they have to comply with the rules," Payal Mehrota, product manager for U.K.-based Sophos, said.

Because many employees prefer to use their own phones for work to avoid carrying two separate devices, other security vendors have taken a more flexible approach. For example, Sterling, Va.-based Fixmo sells a secure container that can be deployed for accessing corporate e-mail, calendars and documents. The container protects corporate data, while allowing the smartphone user to run whatever applications they wish.

Besides the new compliance features, Mobile Control 2.0 includes an app store application that companies can use to distribute software developed in-house or licensed from a third party. The upgrade also includes a self-service portal that lets smartphone users remotely lock or wipe a lost device and reset passwords. User can also use the portal to locate a smartphone.

Mobile Control supports the iPhone, Android smartphones, Windows Phone devices and Research In Motion's BlackBerry. The cost is $65 per device.