Startup Mobilisafe Tackling BYOD With Mobile Risk Management


Seattle-based startup Mobilisafe is still in stealth mode, but the company recently peeked out to talk, in general terms, about how it addresses IT challenges stemming from the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.

Last November, Mobilisafe launched a private beta of its as yet unnamed mobile risk management product, which analyzes mobile devices that are connecting to a company's network. Gathering user data in the intervening months has enabled Mobilisafe to identify BYOD usage trends it deems relevant to SMBs.

For example, more than 80 percent of employees are already bringing their own smartphones and tablets into their company network, and 56 percent of iOS devices are running outdated firmware, according to Mobilisafe. And 39 percent of total authenticated devices were inactive for more than 30 days, raising fears among SMBs about corporate data on devices being lost or stolen.

Mobilisafe's product is still in private beta, and Sajal Sahay, vice president of marketing for Mobilisafe, said plans are to continue releasing this sort of research as a way of establishing itself in the increasingly crowded mobile market.

"We're a data driven organization," said Sahay, who joined in December from HP, where he was vice president of carrier channel marketing for WebOS. "The data gives insight into connections between employee mobile devices and corporate resources. We want to help organizations understand how real and tangible the risks are."

Companies that have allowed BYOD to take root in their organization need to keep tabs on the potential risks of doing so, and that is the functionality Mobilisafe is looking to provide, though the company is not yet ready to talk specifically about how mobile risk management will work, Sahay said.

"This comes down to risk and the way organizations will decide to trust the device choices that their employees make," said Sahay. In general, mobile risk management is about giving organizations some level of awareness. They need to understand what's going on in their organizations, understand the risks, assess them and prioritize them."

Mobile device management and mobile virtualization also purport to solve BYOD challenges, but Sahay said mobile risk management will offer an easier path. "There is a significant impact to device performance that comes from virtualization. Lots of smartphones and tablets have short battery life, and layering in a virtualization solution has some challenges," he said.

Mobilisafe was founded in 2010 and its investors include Madrona Venture Group, Trilogy Equity Partners. Sahay, co-founder Giri Sreenivas and CTO and co-founder Dirk Sigurdson are all veterans of T-Mobile.