IBM Expands Endpoint Security, Operations

IBM has added to Tivoli Endpoint Manager the ability to perform security and operational chores for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. In addition, the company says it has acquired privately held Worklight to eventually fold application management into the Tivoli software.

Endpoint Manager had been limited to security compliance and IT management for desktops, servers, laptops and Windows-based mobile devices. On Tuesday, IBM said the product has been expanded to include the leading smartphone and tablet operating systems.

Endpoint Manager is built on technology from BigFix, an Emeryville, Calif.-based company IBM acquired in 2010. With the latest version of the Tivoli software, companies with employees using an iPhone, iPad or Android device will be able to delete data when a device is lost or stolen and configure and enforce pass code policies, encryption and virtual private networks.

Other features include automatic identification of non-compliant devices, which can then be denied e-mail access. A notification of the violation can be sent to inform the user about corrective actions.

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The changes make Endpoint Manager a single console for managing most mobile devices and PCs. "This is complete unified management," Ben Kus, chief architect of the product, says.

As a result, companies can use the same Tivoli IT team to manage smartphones and tablets, without extensive training. "You don't have to recreate your full infrastructure. You don't have to redo anything," Kus says. "You have all the benefits of a unified platform, which is a real key to our offering."

Along with the Endpoint Manager improvements, IBM announced the acquisition of Worklight, a privately held, New York-based company that develops software tools for building applications to run on smartphones and tablets. Financial terms were not disclosed, and IBM declined to say whether Shahar Kaminitz, Worklight founder and chief executive, would be joining the company.

IBM plans to use Worklight to improve application security through Endpoint Manager. "The big value that you get from having both is to have end-to-end device and app management all in one solution," Kus said. Worklight will be a part of IBM's WebSphere product line, which includes the company's application server, portal server and other software.

The advantage of building a Worklight application and managing it through Endpoint Manager is the greater control a customer would get over the corporate data stored on a mobile device, Kus said. "The two products, which can be bought at the same time, will have the ability to work together in security and operational tasks."

Kus declined to say when integrated versions of the products would be available.

IBM is not a leader in the endpoint protection platform market, as defined by Gartner. In a report released in January, the research firm said McAfee, Symantec and Trend Micro accounted for about 60 percent of the enterprise market in 2010. Total market size was pegged at $3 billion, with growth rates expected in the 5 percent range year to year through 2012.

Gartner says IBM has not done well in the EPP market in the past. "Mind share of this solution (Endpoint Manager), as represented by Gartner customer inquiries, is very low despite IBM's obvious size and channel advantages," the research firm says.

IBM introduced last year a Security Systems Division to handle sales and development of its security products. Having a dedicated sales force could improve IBM's market penetration, according to Gartner.