AirPatrol ZoneDefense Mobile Device Monitoring Is Situationally Aware

The ZoneDefense mobile device monitoring tool from AirPatrol takes into account the mobile device's location and situation before enforcing security policies.

Recognizing that security is dynamic and protection needs can change based on context, AirPatrol unveiled ZoneDefense, a mobile device monitoring platform that takes into account where the device is located and what is happening around it.

With ZoneDefense, enterprises can detect any mobile device on its premises and track the location, AirPatrol said Aug. 16. ZoneDefense also checks whether the devices are compliant according to company policy and enforces rules based on the location and on context, such as whose devices are nearby or what is happening.

Any mobile device detected, regardless of whether it has been issued by the company or is an employee's personal one, can follow ZoneDefense-defined policies to restrict certain functions or perform certain tasks, AirPatrol said. For example, ZoneDefense can allow file sharing if the employee is in his office, but disable it when the employee moves into a conference room.

Outgoing tools and Bluetooth can be disabled on all mobile devices inside an executive boardroom prior to a confidential meeting. Enterprises can also configure ZoneDefense to send out an alert if the employee or guest brings an unapproved or unauthorized device, such as a personal smartphone or tablet, into a secure location, such as a boardroom or a trading floor.

"ZoneDefense revolutionizes the way we monitor and manage the very fluid and ubiquitous mobile device layer through intelligence," stated Tom Kellermann, CTO of AirPatrol.

AirPatrol discussed the need for mobile intelligence when managing mobile devices in the enterprise in a recent whitepaper. Mobile devices are capable, intelligent machines that can pose a significant risk to corporate data. For example, with such devices users could record audio or video or surreptitiously take photos at unacceptable times, such as during a presentation. Security policies with "situational awareness" are necessary to monitor and detect these types of unauthorized use in at-risk environments, AirPatrol said.

"Defense in depth begins with the acceptance that remote access policies must evolve to manage the risk posed by smart devices, providing context awareness to those devices," according to the whitepaper.

Titled "Mobile Risk Management: A Gap Analysis," AirPatrol's whitepaper identifies six key threats facing enterprises: authentication, virus scanning, data leakage, Web filtering, app security and mobile intelligence. Each of the identified gaps are ways attackers compromise the mobile device, such as malware that intercepts one-time use passwords sent as text messages, infected legitimate apps and Websites, and unencrypted data being read by a third party.

Instead of a highly restrictive blanket policy protecting corporate assets, ZoneDefense aims to give employees flexibility in using the devices based on the current location and context, said Dennis Pollutro, CEO of AirPatrol.

ZoneDefense goes beyond typical access controls and data protections prevalent in many enterprise mobile device management platforms. Device tracking is made possible by utilizing commercial wireless bands and local WiFi networks. In order to be context-aware, the enterprise has to be able to treat traffic to and from mobile devices differently based on location and to enforce appropriate security policies. For example, the employee might be able to log in to the corporate mail server using just the login credentials when in his office, but require two-factor authentication when in the parking lot, AirPatrol wrote in its whitepaper.

"There is a prevalent security threat as many personal devices are brought into the work environment," said Pollutro.

BlackBerry smartphones and iOS devices, including both the iPhone and iPad, are currently supported. Support for the Android mobile operating system is expected later in 2011.