Sophos Unveils Management Platform to Secure Android, iPhones, iPads

Sophos announced Social Mobile Control, a mobile device management platform to manage and secure personal mobile devices like Android phones, iPhones and iPads.

Sophos is working on a management console that will allow enterprises to apply security policies to mobile devices, the company announced Feb. 7.

Enterprises can use the Sophos Mobile Control console to handle password management or to restrict certain functions, such as cameras, and to control which applications can access the corporate network, Sophos said. The platform will secure all mobile devices, including Apple's iOS devices such as the iPad and iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Windows Mobile products, and Symbian devices, according to the Sophos.

Sophos Mobile Control works without any agents, the company said. From the management console, IT managers can define security policies and then apply them to all mobile devices, Sophos said.

"Sophos Mobile Control is the foundation for providing device and data protection and security controls in the context they need it," said Matthias Pankert, head of data protection product management at Sophos.

The mobile device management tool allows IT managers to "simply and quickly" secure, monitor and control the devices connecting to the corporate network in the same way laptops and desktops are secured, Sophos said.

As more and more employees bring their personal mobile devices into the workplace and try to access corporate resources such as e-mail or view files, IT managers are increasingly under pressure to secure those devices as well, according to security experts.

Sophos is trying to bridge the "consumerization gap" with a platform that reduces complexity and burden to corporate IT teams, the company said.

According to a recent Forrester report, 75 percent of IT executives were concerned about the security risks associated with mobile devices and smartphone security. About 40 percent of the executives said they already allow and support various mobile devices on their network, according to Forrester.

The personal devices pose a security risk that IT managers must address in the same manner as corporate-issued mobile devices, since they both access company data, Sophos said.

Employees are also increasingly becoming more mobile. More than 40 percent of employees in a given enterprise work outside the corporate headquarters, and that number can soar as high as 80 percent, according to a Yankee Group report. In the United States, businesses with more than 10,000 employees have 50 or more sites, the report found.

"The definition of a company endpoint is shifting rapidly, and security solutions must quickly adapt to provide companies and users the protection they need without causing undue burden on IT staff and users," said Pankert.

Security managers can perform a remote over-the-air lock or wipe to remove all data from a mobile device if it is lost or stolen. Certain apps, such as YouTube, can also be restricted from reaching the corporate network, or the manager could disable certain features, such as the GPS, Sophos said. Mobile Control allows IT managers to force all mobile users to pass through a "secure gate" before getting access to corporate e-mail, Sophos said. The secure gate authenticates only those mobile users using a device that had already been registered on the platform and are compliant with the security measures, the company said.

The self-service portal allows end users to register their own devices and to order a lock or wipe from lost devices. The portal frees up the IT teams from having to administer the employee devices, Sophos said.

The platform will be generally available sometime in the second quarter of 2011, Sophos said.