iPhones, iPads Get Secure Enterprise Support From MokaFive

MokaFive's new app offers a secure way for enterprise data to exist on user-owned iPhones and iPads. Customizable and downloadable from the app store, it's $40 per user per year.

MokaFive is looking to make the transition to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies simpler for some enterprises. While in the past it has offered support for that enterprise black sheep, the Apple Mac, its new MokaFive for iOS app extends its enterprise support services to user-owned Apple iPhones and iPads.

Enterprises are expected to spend $19 billion on Apple iOS products this year, with that figure jumping by 58 percent in 2013, to $28 billion, according to Forrester Research. Additionally, comScore found more than 30 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers to now be using iPhones. These devices, the industry agrees, are making their ways into enterprises, sanctioned or not.

The question then becomes what to do? Since employees are already bringing the devices into the network and IT departments are charged with making them secure, the issue is creating policies at the network level to keep sensitive data from leaking out, while making sure malware doesn€™t get in. This is where the current crop of BYOD products comes in.

Enterprises are a €œnightmare€ in terms of data leakage, but the solution isn€™t to shut them out or lock down the devices, MokaFive COO Purnima Padmanabhan told eWEEK.

€œThese are your high performers€”you don€™t want to put gates in front of them.€ The MokaFive app, said Padmanabhan, represents €œzero change to existing processes.€ Users interact with their iPhones and iPads just as they always have.

Unlike traditional mobile-device-management (MDM) solutions, MokaFive makes only corporate data its business. Employees simply download the app from the App Store, and it creates a secure €œcontainer,€ as MokaFive likes to call it, on the device.

MDM solutions that instead put the whole device under management, ignoring users€™ concerns about privacy around their personal apps, €œare overkill,€ Padmanabhan wrote in an April 17 blog post. €œThey remind me of Abraham Maslow€™s quote: €˜When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.€™€

Also unlike virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions, she also points out, the app works online or off; data is cached locally for offline use. When there€™s a connection, files are updated or downloaded as necessary behind the scenes. For IT managers, the solution is highly customizable for various policies and security settings. They can say, for example, that users can€™t copy and paste content from the corporate data container to their personal files. For the iPhone user, the experience is just like interacting with any iOS app.

€œThink of it like iTunes,€ says MokaFive CEO Dale Fuller. €œWhen you€™re connected, it syncs up, but when you€™re offline you still have access to everything.€

An April Piper Jaffray report found the use of iPads to be increasing in the education market, driven partly by high iPad ownership by teens€”70 percent of tablet-owning teenagers own iPads, said the report. This is expected to drive greater iOS support, as more schools, with tightened budgets, turn to BYOD programs. When these same kids join the workforce, one expects they€™ll want their iPhones and iPads with them. Does MokaFive anticipate that Microsoft will have to share the enterprise more equally with Apple?

€œThe tsunami has already hit,€ Fuller told eWEEK. €œCorporations have had to change more than they ever had. The last 25 years they€™ve been able to say €˜no.€™ That€™s no longer the case. €¦ You can€™t get the horse back into the barn.€

The March 2012 €œGlobal Mobile Workforce Report€ from iPass found 64 percent of mobile workers now carry a tablet, with that figure expected to rise to nearly 80 percent. It also found that 92 percent of workers believe their smartphones should be enabled for both work and personal use.

iPhones and iPads are in the enterprise, says Fuller, with employees sheepishly thinking it€™s better to ask forgiveness for a security transgression than permission to use the device. With MokaFive, he says, they don€™t have to ask either way.

The app, now available in the Apple App Store, is priced at $50 per user per year, and can be used with the MokaFive Suite for laptops and desktops.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The app was originally reported at $40. The finalized price, however, has been changed to $50.