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McAfee To Buy Trust Digital

The deal arms McAfee with enterprise mobile management and security software including the capability to manage enterprise iPhones.

McAfee, the world's second-largest antivirus vendor, announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Trust Digital, a privately held technology vendor. Trust Digital sells enterprise mobile management software designed to secure, manage and assist with mobile devices running a variety of operating systems, including the Apple iPhone and iPad, Google Android, Palm Web OS, Windows Mobile, and Symbian.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close at the end of June, were not disclosed.

What does McAfee stand to gain by adding Trust Digital's software? According to Dave DeWalt, McAfee's president and CEO, the combination will help his company to better "address the mobile workforce, by mitigating the risks associated with vulnerable or malicious mobile applications downloaded by employees."

By McAfee's reckoning, its existing mobile security software -- including mobile antivirus, antispyware, host intrusion prevention, policy auditing and firewalls -- currently runs on 180 million mobile devices. But as smartphone use increases in the enterprise, IT groups are having difficulty actually determining which devices are accessing the corporate network, never mind trying to secure them.

Furthermore, according to a recent mobile security report, almost nine out of 10 businesses expect smartphone use to become more predominant.

As a result, according to Forrester Research analyst Benjamin Gray, enterprise demand for iPhone management solutions in particular continues to increase. While a number of companies make heterogeneous mobile management software -- including Sybase, Good Technology and Motorola -- Trust Digital also competes with other more iPhone-focused management solutions such as Excitor, GPxS Software and Dell's Kace.

"Business users are thrilled by the capabilities of iPhones, smartphones, and tablets and are quickly adopting them as their handheld computers, but their IT counterparts must now find tools to effectively secure and manage them," said Mark Shull, CEO of Trust Digital, in a statement.

Furthermore, these devices are increasingly being sold not to businesses, but direct to consumers. Indeed, to cut costs, many organizations now require employees to purchase their own cell phones, which the company partially reimburses. Almost half of Citrix employees bring their own computers to work, taking advantage of a company subsidy to select the laptop they prefer.

At the same time -- in what's often referred to as the "consumerization" of workplace technology -- many employees choose to purchase their own high-end smartphones, such as an Apple iPhone, Google Android or RIM BlackBerry, and then want to use them at work.

The challenge with those scenarios: How can you secure a smartphone, when you perhaps don't even own it outright? The answer, for an increasing number of organizations, has been to adopt enterprise mobile management software.

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