Microsoft, Lookout Team Up for Secure Enterprise Mobility Management

The companies announce a partnership that will integrate Lookout's Mobile Threat Protection with Microsoft's Enterprise Mobility Suite.

mobile security

Lookout is bringing its threat protection technology to mobile devices managed by Microsoft's fast-growing Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), the software giant's mobile device management platform, and the corporate data they access courtesy of a new partnership inked between the two companies.

"It's a culmination of two years of work," Michael McBride, senior vice president of Field Operations for Lookout, told eWEEK. Integrating Lookout Mobile Threat Protection with EMS is just the start, he said. Microsoft and Lookout will co-sell the joint offering, an arrangement that benefits both companies.

Using a blend of predictive analytics and machine learning technologies, Lookout's cloud-based security platform uses data from over 100 million devices that gather telemetry to sniff out emerging and potential threats to iOS and Android devices. "Blacklisting and whitelisting doesn't work with mobile," said McBride, referring to traditional methods of detecting malware.

Despite the perception that iPhones and Android smartphones are inherently more secure than PCs, CIOs quickly discover that their bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives pose daunting security challenges of their own.

A survey of more than 200 IT professionals conducted for The 2016 Mobile Security & Business Transformation Study, a recent report from IBM, revealed that 63 percent of enterprises encountered more mobile security threats than they anticipated.

"With the explosive growth of mobile comes new opportunities for those with malicious intent, and they are constantly working to identify ways to exploit this new platform," remarked Jason Hardy, market segment manager for IBM Mobile Security, in a blog post. "They are attacking devices, data, apps and users as they search for an efficient manner to gain access to the enterprise."

Worse, those threats are taking a toll on many businesses' efforts to mobilize their workforces. More than half of those polled (58 percent) said that mobile security threats are inhibiting their organization's mobile deployment strategies, IBM found.

Allying with Lookout gives Microsoft access to Lookout's much-needed iOS and Android security.

"Companies should be harnessing the power of the intelligent cloud and mobile threat data to limit their exposure to potential security breaches," said Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Enterprise Client and Mobility Group, in a statement. "We are excited to be working closely together with Lookout to integrate these new capabilities with EMS."

Lookout, meanwhile, gains access to Microsoft's massive enterprise customer base, a good number of which have jumped on the EMS bandwagon, the fastest-growing product in the software giant's history, according to Microsoft. In an April 21 earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed that EMS had achieved "three consecutive quarters of triple-digit customer growth" in the third fiscal quarter of 2016 after doubling its customer count to 27,000.

Another indication that the alliance involves more than swapping some application programming interfaces (APIs) is Microsoft's willingness to crack open its checkbook. McBride revealed that Microsoft made an unspecified financial investment in his company through its corporate funding arm, not the early-stage startup focused Microsoft Ventures unit.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...