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6/8/2012
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MobileIron Distributes Enterprise Apps, Simplifies Android

With 3 new mobile app services, MobileIron hopes to help companies update their business processes for the phone and tablet era.

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As mobile devices become part of corporate business, mobile app management company MobileIron sees an opportunity to facilitate enterprise app delivery at scale and to protect company content on mobile devices.

Last week MobileIron introduced three services designed to make the transition from desktop to mobile computing in businesses more manageable and more secure.

"In the next 12 to 18 months, companies will have their business processes on mobile," said Ojas Rege, VP of strategy for MobileIron, in a phone interview.

But in so doing, businesses face several challenges. The first is app distribution. Rege describes a scenario in which a top pharmaceutical company moves its salespeople to iPads. "iPads are transforming the way selling is done," he said.

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But suppose the company's custom app weighs in at 1.5 GB. Distributing such a hefty chunk of code to a large sales force would slow many corporate networks to a crawl.

"The correct way is to offload the download onto a secure, global, distributed network," said Rege. "That's what we've done to our Application Delivery Network."

The MobileIron Application Delivery Network (ADN) promises provisioning at scale. Think of it as the equivalent of content delivery network Akamai for enterprise mobile apps. Rege contends no one else has this capability at the moment and says the service will be available in the second half of the year, for a monthly per-device fee.

Then there's MobileIron Docs@Work, an enterprise data loss prevention service for both ActiveSync email attachments and SharePoint content. "Email and SharePoint are the two primary content repositories that all MobileIron's customers have," said Rege.

Every organization, insists Rege, is worried about its email attachments being sent to some service like Dropbox and losing control of important data. Docs@Work provides a way to encrypt email and SharePoint documents so they can be read only through MobileIron's secure reader. The service allows IT administrators to delete documents remotely if necessary.

Finally, App Connect for Android is a service that attempts to relieve IT managers of the burden of managing the fragmented Android ecosystem, with all of its different operating system versions.

The service wraps Android business apps in a virtual container for the sake of security and compatibility. App .apk files are encapsulated so that data gets encrypted, inter-app communication is secured, and single sign-on can be implemented. By acting as an intermediary between the app and the data flowing in and out of the app, App Connect for Android provides control over business data while leaving personal apps alone.

"It's our belief that Android will fail in the enterprise unless it can be defragmented," said Rege.

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