As IT wrestles with the "consumerization" of the corporate network, a new player says it might have an answer to the smartphone security problem.
Mobile Active Defense, an upstart vendor chaired by security expert and author Winn Schwartau, yesterday launched the MAD Enterprise Unified Threat Management system, which lets IT organizations control and manage iPhones and other smartphones according to company security policy from a central management console.
MAD Enterprise UTM is a centrally administered system that provides security capabilities remotely for smartphones, but does not require downloading of applications to each device.
"The problem with the smartphone [security] technology so far is that it all requires apps to be loaded onto the phone," Schwartau says. "If you want antivirus, you have to load it. If you want malware detection, you have to load that. But the smartphone only has so much memory -- you can't use it all up doing security.
"What we're offering is something that has zero footprint on the smartphone itself. And you can require it in order to connect to the corporate network, so there won't be any rogues."
The MAD Enterprise UTM offers a variety of security capabilities with a single implementation, says MAD CTO Rob Smith. "M.A.D. provides just about everything the CISO would want," Smith says. "Email security, antivirus, spam and malware detection and removal, encryption, VPN, a granular, policy driven firewall, inventory control, provisioning, and of course, extensive reporting are all standard features."
Deployment of the MAD Enterprise UTM could help companies maintain compliance with regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA or PCI, Schwartau says. "A lot of companies don't realize that by allowing smartphones to connect to the corporate net, they're actually creating compliance problems," he says. "These are basically small computers, but they don't have the same security capabilities that the regular computers have."
In order to remain compliant, some companies have begun issuing standardized smartphones that are configured to meet compliance requirements, Schwartau notes. MAD Enterprise UTM takes a different approach, configuring devices remotely to work within corporate security policy.
In its initial release, the MAD Enterprise UTM supports iPhone, iPad, and WinMobile devices. Android support will be next, Schwartau says, followed by Symbian.
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