Symantec Launches Mobile Management Suite
Symantec recently rolled out a new suite of mobile security and management services to help enterprises protect and oversee data on the rising number of smartphones being used in the workplace.
The company's mobile strategy aims to integrate Symantec's mobile security and management products into existing Symantec programs to help IT departments protect data throughout the mobile device lifecycle -- from provisioning, to security and eventual retirement of the hardware.
"These smartphones need to be managed the same way desktop and laptop computers are managed because they're not phones, they're mini-computers," Khoi Nguyen, product manager at Symantec told EnterpriseMobileToday.com. "There's been a shift in the threat landscape this past year, from intrusions on the network or server, to stealing mobile data, so it needs to be protected throughout the mobile lifecycle. Also, we're seeing that the mobile device is replacing the laptop as the primary mobile work station."
The new offerings include Symantec Endpoint Protection Mobile Edition 6.0, Symantec Network Access Control Mobile Edition 6.0 and Symantec Mobile Management 7.0. Currently, only Microsoft's Windows Mobile and Nokia's Symbian mobile operating systems are supported but Nguyen said Symantec is "looking into supporting platforms."
Symantec Endpoint Protection Mobile Edition 6.0 uses antivirus technology, a firewall and SMS anti-spam protection to secure mobile devices against malicious threats and to protect them from having sensitive corporate information compromised by unauthorized access. It also helps ensure compliance with internal and external security requirements.
The second software product, Symantec Network Access Control Mobile Edition 6.0, works with the endpoint protection service to enforce compliance with security policies. This means only secure, policy-compliant devices can access the network and e-mail on Microsoft Exchange. It also provides client-based integrity checking and centralized alerts for device integrity status. Assessment of host integrity status for mobile devices helps organizations be sure that they are able to consistently enforce IT policy, according to Symantec.
Finally, Symantec Mobile Management 7.0 increases IT efficiency with over-the-air deployment of applications and updates and integrates with Symantec mobile security products. It also provides remote assistance capabilities, real-time system management, granular software delivery and self-repair and the ability for IT staff to have visibility of all the mobile devices being used by the company.
Symantec's mobile security and management services are built on the Symantec Management Platform, which provides unified enterprise-class management of desktops, laptops servers and mobile devices. This enables administrators to centrally define and distribute security policies to mobile devices over-the-air.
The Symantec Management Platform also provides product integration to enable unified security and management of mobile devices from a single management console. Integration with Symantec LiveUpdate further helps to ensure timely updates of content.
Symantec's new mobile data protection software comes at a time when having a comprehensive mobile strategy in place is paramount as mobile devices continue to permeate the business environment -- which increases the vulnerability of sensitive corporate data.
Mobile devices are used by more employees, for more types of applications, to access more types of data-including confidential data-than ever before, according to an enterprise survey commissioned by Symantec.
Key findings from the survey of IT managers conducted in October 2009 include the following: 86 percent of respondents believe that mobile devices are either "critical" or "important" for business process and productivity; more than one-third say that employees with mobile devices can access, receive, and store company confidential data, customer data, regulated data and intellectual property; and 70 percent said that mobile device and desktop and laptop PC security are managed by the same group within the organization.
The trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of worldwide smartphone shipments will reach more than 167 million by 2010, and will increase to more than 291 million by 2013, representing a 14 percent compound annual growth gate, according to research firm IDC.
And, with the proliferation of smartphones in the enterprise, more and more handhelds are being used to access corporate networks, often through unsecured routes, which gives criminals more opportunities for accessing sensitive data, said Nguyen.
"Mobile devices and the growing number of people using them are becoming a bigger target for unauthorized and potentially harmful software, including worms, viruses, and spyware," Sean Ryan, analyst for IDC's mobile enterprise software division, said in a statement. "As the sheer number of mobile devices continues to increase and demands on IT continue to increase, the need for organizations to secure and manage these devices and the information on them is significantly elevated."