Symantec Bulks Up Mobile Management

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Symantec released a series of mobile management platform enhancements, which, for the channel, could translate to new paths to device and application management practices and niches in mobile threat protection.

Symantec is further delving into the mobile security and management space with a series of major platform tweaks that give partners a set of new tools from which to launch burgeoning mobile security and management businesses.

Altogether, the updates, which make good on the company’s long-promised mobile enterprise ambitions, are aimed at bolstering secure mobile e-mail deployments, mobile application initiatives and BYOD programs. For the channel, that translates into the ability to hone expertise and dive deeper with device and application management practices, while allowing partners to cultivate niches in areas such as mobile threat protection.

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“As part of the next stage of their BYOD initiatives, companies worldwide are telling us that they’re looking to increase their adoption of Android devices. We are bringing together a comprehensive set of security and management solutions for this leading platform,” says Anil Chakravarthy, Symantec senior vice president for the enterprise security group. “I am thrilled that so many of our customers worldwide are validating our strategy and portfolio.”

By far, Symantec’s biggest set of initiatives is around the mobile management space. The concerted push into mobile management is most recently driven by Symantec’s completed acquisition of Odyssey Software, first initiated in March of this year, which essentially lays the foundation for partners to cut their teeth on numerous related management services.

The former Odyssey Athena product, which has been transformed and renamed to Symantec Mobile Management for Configuration Manager, offers three deployment options for mobile device management (MDM): a standalone MDM solution, an integrated MDM combined with Altiris IT Management Suite from Symantec, and an integrated MDM for Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. All of the options are scalable, which allow partners to develop and hone a wide range of unified endpoint management services tailored to their customers' environment and mobility needs.

The comprehensive launch also provides support for Windows Phone 7, as well as Android and iOS devices, which allow IT administrators or channel partners to provide a range of services in the form of configuration security and management,  mobile applications, content deployment and corporate data security.

Taking its mobile capabilities up a notch, Symantec beefed up its offering products with a dedicated Android e-mail client. Specifically, the enhancements enable its mobile management products to integrate with the Android enterprise e-mail client NitroDesk Touch Down, which, among other things, protects mobile email and secures the adoption of Android devices in the enterprise.

Included in the massive updates is the new Symantec Mobile Security for Android, which monitors and analyzes millions of Android apps to quell the rising tide of malware threats on Google’s open-source mobile platform.

In addition, Symantec’s Nukona App Center now features the ability to secure apps and data on iOS devices with FIPS 140-2 certified encryption. This feature allows partners to develop niche expertise to ready iOS devices and make forays in government, health care, finance and other specific verticals required to adhere to stringent compliance regulations.

Also helping fulfill compliance niches, Symantec released PGP Viewer for Android, which provides the ability to read encrypted emails on Android devices, paving the way for user enrollment services, key management and other compliance-oriented channel offerings.

The maelstrom of mobile offerings appear to come to the rescue as customers face growing concerns around mobile security and management, spurred by the skyrocketing BYOD trend and a barrage of new mobile apps. According to Symantec’s "State of Mobility" survey, 67 percent of companies are concerned with malware attacks spreading from mobile devices to internal networks. Meanwhile, mobile vulnerabilities increased by 93 percent in 2011, with the bulk of threats targeting the Android platform, according to Symantec’s latest "Internet Security Threat Report."

However, the growing fervor – and ensuing panic – around mobile device management and security no doubt opens wide swaths of opportunity for partners who can use the rising number of threats to initiate discussions with customers about their mobile security posture.

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