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AppSense Unveils Smartphone Encryption

DataLocker, which will enable smartphone users to encrypt sensitive information in personal cloud services such as Dropbox, is the first product to come out of the new research arm created by virtualization technology provider AppSense. Intended to create new computing technologies geared toward both end users and IT, the focus of AppSense Labs will be "to research technologies that include cloud, mobile and data, and to build prototype products that bring a consumer experience to IT," according to the company.

Security and easy access to data from any device are high on the agendas of corporate end users, especially as they increasingly gain access to various types of confidential information from their own mobile devices. What's more, online file sharing and collaboration applications introduce new challenges because they typically allow users to store and access data via many different devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices with Internet connectivity, according to Enterprise Security Group's December 2011 white paper, Online File Sharing and Collaboration in the Enterprise. This means more employees are "going rogue" by bypassing their organizations' IT departments, at least temporarily. This forces IT to take a look at these applications to "catch up" to users, the report says.

"These days, quite a bit of computing innovation occurring is actually being driven by users, who are finding creative ways to make themselves more productive," says Harry Labana, CTO of AppSense. "A key mission of AppSense Labs is to foster this type of grassroots innovation."

DataLocker is an end-to-end set of apps that will enable users to be productive on the fly, by either encrypting or decrypting a file with an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface from any device on a Windows, Mac or iOS platform on a cloud service like Dropbox, the company says. "Instead of trying to prevent people from taking advantage of useful cloud services like Dropbox due to worries about security and control, let's encourage it, but provide tools that eliminate the trade-offs between convenience and protection of sensitive information," Labana says.

When it comes to traditional file sharing and collaboration solutions, IT generally configures and manages policies that dictate which employees have read/write access to certain files, how often files are backed up/synced and from where files can be accessed, according to the ESG report: "SaaS applications shift that control to end users, which can cause issues and headaches for IT in the long run." Although cost savings is often cited by cloud vendors as a driver for cloud adoption, the report found that ease of use and business enablement appear to be bigger drivers for the adoption of online file sharing and collaboration services.

Going forward, AppSense Labs will continue the theme of mobility that lets users be productive across platforms with a focus on data and storage in the cloud, the company says. The DataLocker suite can be downloaded for free for the Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad OS platforms. The Windows and Mac DataLocker applications can be downloaded at A universal DataLocker iOS application for the iPhone and iPad can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

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