Trend Micro Boosts Encryption With Mobile Armor Acquisition

Trend Micro is making inroads in the mobile space and expanding its data protection portfolio with the acquisition of mobile encryption company Mobile Armor.

The deal, signed Monday, will give the Tokyo-based security company another layer of security that will be increasingly relevant as more customers move their IT infrastructure to the cloud and mobile space.

The technology garnered from the acquisition will provide encryption on a variety of platforms, especially the mobile space, which will give organizations the ability to encrypt data as it moves over smartphones and laptops to both physical and virtual desktops, said a Trend Micro executive.

"Instead of trying to resolve an old problem with old tricks, we'll help organizations move to the new environments," said Wael Mohamed, Trend Micro senior vice president of global alliances. "We basically leapfrogged everyone we protect in the future, making sure that the companies can transition from the current state to the future state."

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Altogether, Mobile Armor will provide Trend Micro access to full disk, file/folder and removable media encryption for endpoints, and be folded into the company's existing data loss prevention, e-mail encryption and cloud encryption products. The encryption technology will be folded into Trend Micro's product line and suites, but also be kept available in standalone form.

"It is another piece of the puzzle," Mohamed said, adding that the transition to the cloud is "not going to be a click of a button. It's going to be transitional. We want to make sure we have all the right platforms that provide all the flexibilities."

In addition, the Mobile Armor's strong presence in government and health-care verticals will give channel partners a bigger pathway into those industries, which are often required to adhere to a multitude of federal and state compliance regulations that mandate encryption across all platforms.

In the past, Trend Micro focused on acquisitions that either target or could serve the cloud and mobile space. Trend Micro helped lead the charge in the cloud security space with the launch of the Smart Protection Network in 2008 and recently launched SecureCloud, designed to protect data at the hypervisor level. The company acquired e-mail encryption firm Identum in February 2008, as well as file synchronization company Humyo in June of this year, which allowed Trend Micro to both secure communications and synchronize customer data respectively.

"There's scary stuff out there. Data leakage is huge. How do you protect the data? That's what they're building their story around," said Michelle Drolet, CEO of Framingham, Mass.-based TowerWall, adding, "It's all about protecting he data, and figuring out what data needs to be protected because you can't protect it all."

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Drolet applauded the move by Trend Micro, saying the addition of endpoint and mobile encryption will give the company a leg up in competing with larger security vendors such as Symantec, which acquired the full gamut of encryption technologies with the duel acquisitions of PGP and GuardianEdge last spring.

Drolet said that the Mobile Armor acquisition came at a "good time," adding that her company reconsidered a partnership with Symantec after it acquired TowerWall's former partner PGP.

"We just got the notification that we have to go through all sorts of gyrations to continue to be their partner. And I can tell you that's not happening," Drolet said, referring to Symantec's recent initiative that requires partners to invest in specializations to retain their status. "The acquisition comes at a good time for us because we're not going to continue that relationship."