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AirWatch offers means to police company data on mobile devices

Published:Friday | July 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Cesar Bereguer, director of new business at Airwatch.

Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

Mobile security firm AirWatch says it is eyeing Jamaica and the wider Caribbean as fresh territory to market its proprietary software which, it says, can discretely monitor use of company infor-mation on mobile devices.

The application, called Workspace, which costs US$4 per month per device, can detect whether an employee is transporting company data offsite, says AirWatch by VMWare's Director of New Business Cesar Berenguer.

The product, which is already being distributed in Jamaica, appears to be a first for this market.

One local security-solution provider said on Tuesday that local companies tend to provide their own internal controls for protection of information on devices with little engagement of third-party providers.

He said mobile devices made by Apple and other providers also come with security features which companies can make use of. Using third-party security provider adds another layer of cost that each company would have to consider, he said.

Created for enterprises, Workspace is said to provide complete separation of corporate and personal data on a device, ensuring corporate resources are secure.

AirWatch describes the application as a "secure containerised solution" for all data, including email, applications, content and browsing", which allows companies to track use of devices in real time - including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

"AirWatch enables you to manage internal, public and purchased apps across devices enrolled in your organisation," said Berenguer.

The solution secures document distribution and promotes content collaboration, he said.

The security features include user authentication, encryption, geofencing sharing limitations and offline viewing restrictions.

Andreano Lanusse, an engineer with Airwatch, explains that the application, when installed, initiates communication between the device and AirWatch's server.

Lanusse explains that geofencing allows the administrator to control use of information within a certain time frame, as well as certain physical locations or parameters. It is possible for documents to disappear from a device if it is moved beyond the locations prescribed by the client company.

Other security settings may also prevent printing, the taking of screenshots and forwarding of documents.

If the device is stolen, AirWatch can also retrieve all the information on the device as well as erase it totally.

Globally, the mobile-device security software market grew 40 per cent to cross the US$1 billion mark in 2013, with the expectation that the industry will grow to US$3.4 billion in 2018, said market research firm Infonetics Research in its recent Mobile Device Security Client Software report.

The report, which tracks enterprise and consumer security client software for mobile devices, says the increasing trend among workers to move between locations and the workplace with technology devices has created market openings for security solutions.

"The triple threat of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) as a dominant enterprise trend, an increasingly hostile threat environment, and the deluge of frightening revelations about privacy, courtesy of the NSA, is forcing enterprises and consumers to invest real money in mobile device security," the researcher states in a precis of its report on infonetics.com.

Enterprise mobile clients comprised 51 per cent of the total security client market in 2013, while consumer mobile security clients made up 49 per cent, Infonetics said.

AirWatch does not have offices in Jamaica, but says it supports the Caribbean market from its Miami office through a partner network.

Berenguer said AirWatch has been operating in the Latin America and Caribbean market since 2011, three years before its acquisition by VMware in February 2014, and that the company serves 12,000 clients in 150 countries.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com