Symantec details mobile device management plans

Symantec on mobile security strategy, Nukona acquisition

Symantec this week put the focus on its mobile security strategy with its announcement that it's acquiring Nukona, the software provider for mobile application management.

Since Symantec has mobile-device management (MDM) software in the market already -- its Symantec Mobile Manager, an upgrade for which was announced just this month -- the question is, what approach does Symantec foresee in presenting two mobile security and management products in the future?

MORE: MDM: Part of the mobile security solution?

Brian Duckering, senior manager of product marketing for enterprise mobility at Symantec, said there are no plans at present to somehow merge the features of both into one product.

It's envisioned that the Nukona technology for creating the equivalent of security containers for apps on mobile devices will the most suited for organizations that have decided to embrace a "bring your own device" (BYOD) strategy, says Duckering.

Using this, businesses will be able to say, "Here are the apps you'll be using as part of your job, and you only connect with them using a VPN or two-factor authentication," or other requirements such as encryption that the Nukona software can enforce. Duckering adds, "The data is attached to the apps and by containerizing them, we control the data."

The Nukona name will likely be dropped after the acquisition is completed, expected in April, and there are likely to be some changes over the coming year to evolve the product by integrating it into the Symantec MDM management console so it would be possible to manage both Symantec products through one console in the future. But Symantec is also promising to do nothing "to disrupt current customers of Nukona."

The current Symantec Mobile Manager is not proposed specifically for BYOD environments, says Duckering. But this product, too, is expected to change over time to take on more security functions. However, it's expected to remain the primary MDM platform for enrolling corporate mobile devices and managing them, said Duckering, noting Symantec's strategy with having both mobile-device products is to give customers a breadth of choice.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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