Symantec Beefs Up Mobile Security Offerings

Symantec Corp. has extended its mobile device security strategy, adding new features and enhancements aimed at improving the security and efficiencies associated with mobility, and particularly the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon.

The company selected its Symantec Vision 2012 conference as the backdrop for this announcement where a number of key highlights are under discussion.

In the area of mobile application management, Symantec’s acquisition of Nukona enables cross-platform mobile application management that can protect corporate applications and related data.

[Related: BYOD Spurs Demand For MDM Platforms, Resellers ]

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"This is a different technology category from mobile device management,’ explained Brian Duckering, senior manager for enterprise mobility at Symantec. ’Rather than managing the device for applying policies, we can target specific applications and data with authentication, encryption, controls etc. so that company resources are controlled and private resources that belong to the employee are not."

"This is a game changer for enterprise mobility," Duckering added. "People prefer to use their own devices, they treat them better because they paid for them, and their willingness to do so saves money for the company."

Although it has the potential to lower a company’s bottom line, enterprise mobility, in particular, has been difficult for organizations working with highly sensitive information to find a secure means by which to work with BYOD.

"But it becomes challenging when those devices are accessing sensitive company resources, and security policies can become pretty onerous. This is especially true when you look at industries like healthcare and finance and government," Duckering notes, pointing out the inherent problem employees face when such agencies implement their own security measures. "So the policies that they would put in place can be more restrictive than the employees would prefer to permit."

That’s where mobile application management steps in, providing a possible solution to the BYOD headache.

"Mobile application management allows you to apply all of the appropriate controls within the individual applications, or a small set of particular applications," said Duckering. "So if I don't have a password for my device for example, I don't have to have one, but as soon as I go to the application in question, I need to login. And any company stored on the device would have to be encrypted."

These capabilities are now available for both SaaS and on-prem business models, based on the selection of the respective customers and channel partners.

NEXT: Symantec’s Plans For Tablets And Mobile Devices

Symantec Data Loss Prevention (DLP) for Tablets has now been re-flagged as Data Loss Prevention for Mobile, and will soon support the iPhone. The solution enables monitoring and control of confidential data from mobile devices without restricting users’ access to applications. Data Loss Prevention for Mobile, with iPhone support is scheduled for general availability in late summer. Android support is also on the horizon, but an effective date has not yet been announced.

Symantec Certificate Intelligence Center (CIC) for Mobile is designed to simplify the process of managing SSL certificates across large and complex networks. Detailed, real-time intelligence on SSL certificate usage on the network is now available on the iPad.

Symantec Code Signing for Android provides a tool for developers to digitally sign their .APK files for the Android platform. In addition to signing applications, this cloud-based service allows developers to securely manage their certificate keys and store their signed applications from a single console. Android Root certificate capability is also available.

’This is pretty key because one of the major exploits is to get a copy of the application, modify it and then redistribute it,’ said Symantec's Duckering. ’For example, last year people were finding free applications of a popular game that worked fine but also had malicious code on them. The users later found out that their devices were sending high-value text messages and doing other things.’