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Sophos Unveils Mobile Security Platform For Smartphones

Android, Apple iOS, and Windows Mobile devices can be secured, monitored, and configured according to corporate security policies and IT administrators can remotely wipe all device data.

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Sophos on Monday launched new mobile device management software to secure, monitor, and control the configuration of a variety of mobile devices. Among other features, the product will enforce corporate security policies and allow IT administrators to remotely wipe all device data.

The product, Sophos Mobile Control, will manage Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile devices. Due to be released by July 2011, it is designed to work with devices owned by either the business or employees. It features a self-help portal, enabling organizations to shift some administrative tasks onto users. For example, users can register new devices, and wipe or lock lost devices, via the portal.

According to Matthias Pankert, head of data protection product management at Sophos, "The definition of a company endpoint is shifting rapidly and security solutions must quickly adapt to provide companies and users the protection they need without causing undue burden on IT staff and users."

When it comes to smartphone security software, many organizations still go without, even as the number of unknown devices connecting to corporate networks continues to increase. For example, according to a study released in late 2010, nearly half of employees connect to corporate networks using devices that they -- not their employer -- own, and seven out of 10 employees use corporate-owned devices for personal activities. But while 80% of CIOs think smartphones create a greater risk of a data breach, half of organizations don't secure those devices.

The new Sophos product aims to address that gap between perception and action by mitigating the risks of unknown devices connecting to the enterprise network, or of users losing devices that contain sensitive information.

Accordingly, the product secures smartphones by enforcing security policies, as set by an IT administrator using a central console. It can also require strong passwords and temporarily lock devices after a set number of failed log-in attempts. The software can restrict specific device features and application settings, and block cameras, browsers, and access to Web sites such as YouTube. In the event that a device is lost or stolen, Sophos Mobile Control enables the device to be remotely locked or completely wiped.

To secure corporate email access, devices get routed through a secure email gateway which can be configured to block any unregistered devices or devices with incorrect security settings.

The product won't require a software agent to run on Apple iOS devices. Agent software will, however, be required for the software to work on devices that utilize Android or Windows Mobile operating systems.

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