F5 Networks Mobile App Manager Aims at BYOD Businesses

Available for Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices, the platform provides PIN-protected and encrypted enterprise applications.

Application delivery networking specialist F5 Networks has unveiled Mobile App Manager, a hybrid cloud solution for mobile application management that helps organizations support bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives.

Available for both Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices, Mobile App Manager provides PIN-protected and encrypted enterprise applications, including corporate email, a secure Web browser, and an F5 App Store from which corporate applications and content can be securely downloaded.

Using the App Wrapper functionality in App Manager, IT can secure internally developed and third-party applications before making them available to employees on mobile devices. The management console allows IT to manage individual devices or device groups, push and retract applications and data on a device, and lock or wipe only the secure workspace rather than the entire device.

The platform also allows IT departments to extend corporate applications and data to employees' personal mobile devices while leaving all personal content under the control of the device owner. This way, employees feel their own personal information is kept off corporate networks, and IT managers can control device access to their network, track inventory, monitor threats and vulnerabilities and protect corporate information.

"True mobility is network infrastructure-centric because all these smartphones and tablets won't help us do the job without pervasive access to data," Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said in a statement. "And as fast as it's being adopted, BYOD means headaches for the IT organizations attempting to lock down more and more employee-owned devices. F5's approach shifts the IT control point off the device and onto the network by managing and securing only those apps that employees use for work."

The App Manager complements F5's unified access solutions, which provide secure, accelerated remote access and identity federation for software as a service (SaaS) applications. When Mobile App Manager is used with F5's BIG-IP access policy manager (APM), IT can create a secure application virtual private network (VPN) for corporate applications. Because BIG-IP APM uses the customer's on-premises identity stores, employee information stays on premises.

"As more employees want to use personal devices in the workplace, enterprise IT has had to make tough choices: support BYOD initiatives despite having limited security controls, impose complete control over employees' personal devices using MDM [mobile-device-management] solutions or reject BYOD initiatives altogether," Mark Vondemkamp, vice president of security product management and marketing at F5, said in a statement. "F5 Mobile App Manager enables IT to make intelligent BYOD choices that benefit both the company and employees; it gives IT the control and flexibility it needs to protect corporate resources without restricting an employee's use of the device or infringing on their privacy."