Zenprise extends security controls to employee-owned iPhones, other devices

New features can limit access, selectively wipe data, ease tech support

Can you manage and secure an employee-owned mobile device that's accessing your corporate network? Zenprise has added a trio of new features to its MobileManager software for just this purpose.

Smartphone wave challenges enterprise security

With the new release, network administrators now can tailor employee access to corporate networks, wipe company data from devices without touching personal information, and remotely access an employee-owned handset to troubleshoot problems.

Zenprise MobileManager evolved from the Fremont, Calif., company's original focus on mobile e-mail troubleshooting, which was then extended to managing enterprise BlackBerry deployments. Today, MobileManager is one of a range of products targeted at helping the enterprise monitor, manage and secure mobile devices running various operating systems. Other vendors in this general market include Good Technology, Zenprise, Trust Digital (recently acquired by McAfee), MobileIron, Tangoe and BoxTone.

The three additional features in the new MobileManager release are what Zenprise calls profiles, selective wipe and remote lifeline.

A profile is a bundle of specific mobile management, usage and security policies that can be applied automatically to individuals or groups. This is the first time Zenprise has offered a policy-driven administrative feature. IT administrators can distinguish between corporate-owned and employee-owned (sometimes called "employee-liable") mobile devices.

Using a set of GUI screens and drop-down selections, you can manage devices' settings and features, such as configure Wi-Fi and VPN settings, restrict Web site and application access, set up password requirements, or block use of a digital camera. Profiles pull user and group information from Microsoft Active Directory.

If an employee quits or is fired, the "selective wipe" feature lets an IT administrator delete only enterprise-related data, such as corporate e-mail, contacts, and calendar, while leaving untouched personal information such as photos, music, apps and videos. On corporate-owned devices, every bit of data can be removed.

Finally, the "remote lifeline" feature gives IT administrators a way to remotely and automatically configure settings for VPN, proxy server and Wi-Fi on an employee-owned device. It also can automatically identify a range of problems, such as not being able to connect to the mail server. MobileManager's screens group issues according to categories, such as infrastructure, Microsoft Exchange, carrier or device, and then let administrators dig down and "show current issues" for each category.

The updated version of Zenprise MobileManager is available now. Pricing is unchanged, starting at $40 per year per user.

(Zenprise is planning a free Webinar, "Top Tips for Securing iPhones and iPads in the Enterprise," on Aug. 26, 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. The focus will be on best practices for managing, monitoring and securing employee-liable iPhones and iPads. You can register online.) 

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

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