Blue Coat Adds Mobile App Security Control, Targets BYOD

The new features extend the same granular operational controls used for web-based applications to the mobile applications brought into the enterprise by employees. The net effect is to have consistent policy enforced across all devices accessing the network.

"For example, you might let your employees read Facebook because it relates to their jobs, but you might not let them chat, post or download, if those activities do not pertain to their jobs," said Sasi Murthy, senior director of product marketing at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Blue Coat. "So whether you are mobile or in the headquarters, you've got consistency across the board. It's very important that organizations be able to stay in control of these devices and be able to protect their networks. But, you can't do that if you don't know what's going on. And, we enable them to gain that level of visibility and control."

The mobile application controls are automatically updated through the company's WebPulse threat intelligence system. In situations where the user tries to access a denied application, they merely receive a pop-up window indicating that the application or function has been blocked.

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"This extends our current functionalities out to these mobile devices," explained Murthy. "This capability is available immediately through our channel partners, who can leverage it to help their customers stay ahead of the BYOD trends and close the security gap."

The roll-out looks like a good move, according to Ian Cartwright, a solutions engineer with Accuvant, a Blue Coat channel partner based in Denver, Colo. "I'm very glad to see them bringing such granular control to mobile applications," he said. "This is especially true when you consider the BYOD phenomenon and the proliferation of all these different devices. Mobile applications have been hard to control, and this gives us the tools that we need to bring our capabilities to the next level."

By some estimates, as much as 50 percent of corporate employees are choosing their own devices and bringing them onto the network. Each one can bring a full range of mobile applications onto the network.