Symantec updates smart phone management suite

Symantec Corp. is rolling out a trio of updated products designed to secure and manage your fleet of Windows smart phones across their lifecycle.


In addition to a variety of mobile device management features, Symantec Mobile Management 7.0 will allow administrators to deploy applications and updates to the mobile fleet. The other two products include Symantec Network Access Control Mobile Edition 6.0 and Symantec Endpoint Protection Mobile Edition 6.0, which together will protect devices against malicious threats and unauthorized access to the corporate network or Microsoft Exchange server.


The security giant said that while these products are only supported on Windows-based phones, the company is exploring Google Android and Apple iPhone solutions.


Rick Maddox, senior manager of product marketing with Symantec, said the updated product line will give security staff a single console for provisioning, managing, securing and retiring enterprise smart phones.


For example, if an employee loses a mobile device in a taxi, administrators would trigger the event, lock down the machine, remotely wipe the data, provision a replacement device, load it with the data that user needs, and then prepare to secure and manage that new device in the event of another accident.


Maddox said all of the products are integrated to focus on the critical data that works its way through the typical mobile device, rather than the devices themselves. He added that the consumerization of enterprise IT and the rise in cyber crime make better mobile anti-virus and security management tools a necessity.


James Quin, a senior research analyst covering security for London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Ltd., agreed with Symantec’s outlook, saying that the mobile devices themselves tend to be very low-powered, so the compute resources aren’t that attractive to cyber criminals.


“At the end of the day, it’s the data that is the lifeblood of an enterprise. It’s the data that defines enterprise success or failure and so its data that needs to be protected,” he said. “More stationary equipment, such as server grade equipment and workstations, tends to be more powerful and so can be appealing as a target of cybercrime in and of itself.”


Deploying any tool or service that is able to add device-based protection mechanisms is a best practice, Quin added.


“To be honest, this is a direction in which the entire market is moving,” Quin said, referring to the increased prevalence of encryption technologies and the huge push on data leakage protection strategies.


Outside of the security vendor fraternity, virtualization vendors are also pushing the dangers of unsecured data on mobile devices. Desktop virtualization, in particular, is one strategy that can help lock down sensitive data.


According to Citrix Systems Inc. Canadian vice-president David Wright, most companies would prefer mobile workers not walk around with data on an endpoint device.


Virtualization isolates data from the end point, keeping it in a secure central location but allowing transparent access from mobile devices, he said.

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