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February 13, 2012

Centrify adds Apple and Android control to Active Directory

The new platform enables IT admins to manage mobile devices just like a Windows PC

By Vinod

In an attempt to address the growing concerns over the consumerisation of IT, Centrify has unveiled its DirectControl for Mobile platform, which lets businesses control iOS and Android devices through Active Directory.

Speaking to CBR about the new platform, Centrify CEO Tom Kemp said it enables companies to manage and secure a variety of devices through the infrastructure they already have in place and an interface they are already familiar with.

Available for both company- and employee-owned devices, Centrify DirectControl for Mobile works by creating a computer object inside Active Directory for each device that is then associated with the user that created it.

If that user then leaves the corporation their Active Directory entry is deleted, which will automatically update the device’s entry to remove or revoke permissions, data and policies associated with the device.

The platform also features remote wipe and lock capabilities as well as any other policies that the company wants a mobile user to adhere to, such as what applications can and cannot be used on the device.

The IT department can also use it to set up a user’s Exchange email account and the company’s Wi-Fi and VPN settings. Essentially it treats a mobile device in the same way as a Windows PC, Centrify product marketing director David McNeely told CBR.

The whole operation is cloud-based, because as CEO Tom Kemp points out, users of Apple and Android devices are generally on the move and therefore not connected to the corporate LAN all the time. Centrify will supply a cloud proxy server which will need to be installed on-premise to give the cloud platform access to the Active Directory.

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The cloud infrastructure is built on Windows Azure and will benefit from its multiple data centres and redundancy capabilities built in, Kemp told CBR. "There is no risk involved with the cloud route," Kemp added. "It acts as a secure gateway to the Active Directory, that’s where the data is secured. All sensitive data is still stored on-premise."

DirectControl for Mobile launches today with an open beta. It will cost $24 per device per year and should be available from next quarter.

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