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Ex-Symantec COO Mike Fey Launches Island Enterprise Browser

Michael Novinson

‘We simplify the security stack greatly for the client in web and SaaS environments. We reduce the expense, and we improve the security of the environment,’ Mike Fey, Island’s Co-Founder and CEO, tells CRN.

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Former Symantec President and COO Mike Fey has started a new company Island that provides better security controls and governance for corporate applications and data.

The Dallas-based company emerged from stealth Tuesday with more than 100 employees, nearly $100 million of outside funding, and a generally available product called Enterprise Browser that reimagines the role browsers can play in security and IT functions. Island is led by Fey – who’s CEO – ex-Fireglass Founder and CTO Dan Amiga – who’s CTO – and ex-Cybereason GM Eric Appel, who’s VP of sales.

“There was a major opportunity to rethink the browser,” Fey told CRN. “We really are building out a complete feature set of how this Enterprise Browser will integrate and help all of IT and security.”

[Related: Symantec President, COO Michael Fey Out As Part Of Leadership Shuffle]

Despite its relative infancy, Fey said Island already has 10 channel partners and has driven more than half of its business through solution providers since it began selling Enterprise Browser in September. Fey anticipates solution providers will be the primary route to market for midsized customers, and the company expects to bring on a channel chief and build out a partner program in the next 12 months.

“We‘ve gone to the partners that know how to drive real opportunity,” Fey said. “And we’ve partnered up with those organizations making sure that it‘s extremely profitable for them … We’re definitely setting aside resources and are definitely committed to making this a win for our channel partners.”

Enterprise Browser is priced on a per-user basis, and Fey said the pricing is intended to suit everyone from Fortune 100 enterprises to 1,000-person businesses. The product has appealed both to high-end customers in more regulated industries like financial services, retail, and pharmaceuticals as well as mid-market organizations that are looking for a simpler way to put more robust security controls in place.

“Those that take cybersecurity the most seriously engage the fastest,” Fey said. “Having full control of the last mile allows you to rethink your security stack in a major way.”

Businesses can require Island’s Enterprise Browser for specific users like call center workers, contractors or workers using personal devices and aren’t required to start with an company-wide deployment, Fey said. And companies can require employees looking to access critical SaaS applications like Salesforce or Workday use the Enterprise Browser even if workers prefer using consumer browsers for other tasks.

“When critical data is involved, we are a wonderful fit as a starting point because that data is so priceless to companies,” Fey said.

The Enterprise Browser is designed to ensure that company data doesn’t leave the SaaS environment and can’t be easily stolen, according to Fey. It delivers visibility into performance, capabilities and the end user experience that were previously very difficult to get when employees were using personal devices and consumer browsers to carry out work functions, Fey said.

“We simplify the security stack greatly for the client in web and SaaS environments,” Fey said. “We reduce the expense, and we improve the security of the environment.”

The Enterprise Browser means that organizations no longer have to implement painful SSL or needless virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) sessions and can adopt a fundamentally different approach when it comes to data loss prevention (DLP). And from a metrics standpoint, Island plans to track the number of active Enterprise Browser users, the number of aggregate clients, and the value that’s being delivered.

Island’s Enterprise Browser has received a warm reception from members of Set Solutions’ customer advisory board, who have been looking for ways to provision access to remote users and contractors without having to deploy VPN, according to Dan Broussard, Set’s executive vice president of sales. VPN makes it difficult for organizations to implement granular controls once a user has access to the system.

Going forward, Broussard said he would like to see Island pursue tight integrations with companies that control access like Okta and Ping Identity. Broussard would also like to see Island push innovation in the application delivery space by making it possible for developers to build capabilities on top of Island’s platform.

“We haven’t seen anyone else build and deliver security controls by putting it into a browser experience,” Broussard said. “It’s a known delivery mechanism, people are using browsers already, and the controls will be built in versus bolted on.”

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