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December 19, 2011

Sophos aims to tackle consumerisation headache with MDM platform

Security company also jumps on App Store bandwagon with Mobile Control 2.0

By Steve Evans

Security firm Sophos has launched version 2.0 of its Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform, offering protection for Apple and Android phones and tablets.

Sophos says Mobile Control 2.0 can manage Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices as well as Apple’s iPhone and iPads running iOS 5 and devices running Google’s Android operating system.

Mobile Control has a centralised web-based management console where admins can monitor and control mobile devices, including personal ones owned by workers rather than the business.

It is this so-called consumerisation of IT that is causing real headaches for IT departments, as personal devices are often not secured to the same level as work devices and there is a real danger of data loss if a device goes missing or is stolen.

The centralised web console allows companies to provide remote device lock and wiping capabilities. The platform can also block access to sensitive business data via email if it suspects there has been an unauthorised attempt to remove it from the phone.

IT admins can also set policies that will operate across all devices that attempt to access the corporate network. This means unencrypted devices could be blocked and applications such as games could also be blacklisted.

Sophos says that IT admins can see all non-compliant devices via the dashboard, as well as details of the issue and suggestions to remedy them. The web console can also be used to track all devices registered on the system, which is useful for compliance and regulation purposes.

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Mobile Control also introduces what Sophos calls a self-service portal, where users can register their own device. This means that not only can IT admins keep track of devices, users can also access many of the management features of Mobile Control, such as remote device locking and wiping and password reset.

It also has an Enterprise App Store, where admins can provision recommended or company apps that are not available via the usual method of Apple’s App Store or Google’s Android Market.

"We understand that businesses are increasingly mobile and their workforce is adding an extra layer of complexity," said Matthias Pankert, vice president of Product Management, Mobile Data Protection, Sophos. "With the enhancements within Sophos Mobile Control, we are aiming to streamline and simplify device and data protection, while giving employees the flexibility they want, and IT departments the protection they need."

There has been plenty written about the consumerisation of IT recently, including CBR’s in-depth take on the issue and guest posts from industry Thought Leaders on the subject.

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