Zenprise extends mobile security to line-of-business apps

Zenprise has beefed up enterprise mobile security by adding to its MobileManager application new features that can be applied to Google Android, Apple iOS and Windows Mobile smartphones and other devices.

The changes give enterprise IT groups more information about what's happening on the handset, and forge an encrypted link between the device and specific, backend enterprise applications.

The Fremont, Calif., vendor has incorporated code from its recent acquisition, Sparus Software.  A French company, Sparus focused on deploying and securing line-of-business applications to a broad range of mobile device types.

Also read: Smartphone wave challenges enterprise security

Zenprise MobileManager combines an on-device client application with a server that creates a central point for administrators to manage and troubleshoot mobile users and their devices. In August 2010, Zenprise added a set of features designed to improve selective enterprise management of employee-owned smartphones.

A new feature added to the client is Dynamic Defense, which actively monitors a range of device features and peripherals and can send alerts when their status changes. For example, if a smartphone's SIM card is removed, the code sends an alert and then can react automatically, for example, to reset the smartphone, thereby erasing all its data. Another example is detecting when the mobile device connects over an unsecure Wi-Fi network: the phone can alert the user to drop the connection, or shut it down automatically.

The second new feature is Secure Connect, which creates an encrypted connection between the smartphone and a specific backend enterprise application, such as an inventory or customer management program. It's the specificity that makes this connection different from a Virtual Private Network, which as the name implies, gives the user secure access to the entire network, according to Zenprise executives.

Secure Connect makes use of the third new feature in MobileManager, the Mobile Application Gateway (MAG), which is a server-based program that makes use of a corporate directory and security certificates to confirm the user has permission to access a given application. In addition, the MAG logs all mobile application traffic to meet compliance requirements, and for creating reports.

According to Zenprise, the MAG actively monitors each session's traffic and can detect any actions by malware trying to exploit the connection or reach other servers. If that happens, the MAG can block such actions, according to Zenprise.

The new features will be an add-on to MobileManager 6.0. Beta testing has started, with general availability by the end of December. Pricing will be announced at that time. For existing customers that elect this option, the new features will be a software upgrade to the existing Zenprise client and server.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnwwEmail: john_cox@nww.comBlog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

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