Kaspersky Lab Bolsters Mobile Security Effort

Kaspersky Lab updates its mobile security product, indicating it plans to hold its ground in the tightening MDM race.

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Like many security heavyweights, Kaspersky Lab ZAO has already taken concerted steps in the mobile security race. Now the Russian-based anti-virus firm is deepening its niche in the space, indicating that it won't let industry peers Sophos Ltd., Symantec Corp. and others take easy swipes at marketshare as mobile security continues its sharp upward growth trajectory.

The security firm launched the latest version of its Kaspersky Mobile Security product, which comes in the form of a free security app for Android smartphones. As with all upgrades, the latest version comes equipped with a new set of bells and whistles, including a feature that checks suspicious links in text messages as well as a new alarm feature designed to help users find lost smartphones.

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Among other things, the updated product incorporates enhanced anti-virus and Web protection, including an anti-phishing feature shielding users from malicious SMS spam.

The updated version also includes anti-theft protection with remote Web management, a features that enables solution providers to remotely block smartphones, wipe corporate data or take a photo of the person who found or stole the device. The feature list also includes privacy protection designed to hide specific contacts and lists from unauthorized users, as well as call and text filtering capabilities that can be used to create white and blacklists of contacts and block unsolicited numbers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the premium version of the product incorporates a host of new features not found in the free version, including automatic scans, real-time protection, secure Web browsing and text message scanning.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that Kaspersky Lab is determined to hold its ground in the mobile security space. And with good reason. The global mobile security market is expected to reach $3.49 billion some time this year, according to the latest Visiongain report.

For partners that have built businesses around the firm’s mainstay anti-virus offering, that means a chance to diversify their portfolios, increase profitability and better target their core SMB market that is adopting mobile infrastructure by leaps and bounds.

Few can dispute that Kaspersky Lab has a solid and relevant anti-virus product on the market. And its mobile security product has a fighting chance, gliding on its solid reputation in anti-malware arenas.

That said, the mobile security space will likely offer challenges that anti-virus market doesn’t -- namely the number of competitors aggressively jumping into the space. Empowered with what is still tantamount to a wide open playing field, competitors ranging from security firms to telecoms are all seriously vying for the mobile security and mobile device management space – and that includes some of Kaspersky Lab’s nearest competitors.

Close industry peers such as Trend Micro Inc. and Symantec Corp. have etched a stronger presence in the MDM markets. But Sophos in particular has made strong headway in the space with serial MDM launches that include a cloud MDM release, as well as a solution that rolled both its endpoint protection and MDM capabilities into one offering. The Massachusetts-based endpoint security firm released a free Android security product, a move that aimed to boost credibility, garner new customers and secure a more viable place in burgeoning MDM markets.

Now it appears that Kaspersky Lab is taking page out of its competitors’ book with a free offering that can transition to a paid premium upgrade.

Thus far, the mobile security arena is still shaking out, without any clear winners, but will likely become more discernible over the next 18 months. And to that end, it’s best that partners start adding mobility to their security portfolios to ensure a place at the table.

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