Juniper rolls out smartphone security suite

Juniper this week unveiled software to protect mobile devices from security threats.

Juniper this week unveiled software, based on its recent purchase of sMobile, to protect mobile devices from security threats.

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Called Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite, the software includes anti-virus, personal firewall, anti-spam, loss and theft prevention, and monitoring and control services. It also remotely backs up and restores data, can locate devices in the event they are lost or stolen, and can send an alert when a SIM has been removed, swapped or replaced.

Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite is designed let companies provide employees with secure access to corporate applications and e-mail on mobile devices, while also safeguarding business data and networks. It is also intended to let service providers offer cloud-based security services to consumers who store sensitive information on their smartphones.

Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite also provides parental controls for families using mobile handsets.

Client security software, be it mobile or on fixed desktops, is a hot market. Earlier this year, Juniper acquired sMobile, a maker of security software for mobile clients based on a variety of operating system platforms. Intel announced plans to acquire McAfee for close to $8 billion. McAfee picked up two enterprise-focused mobile security companies, Trust Digital and tenCube. And Symantec acquired GuardianEdge.

Infonetics Research said the market for mobile security client software grew 16 per cent from the first quarter to the second quarter, to $79 million. The research firm expects the market to grow at a compounded rate of 50 per cent annually until 2014, to $1.6 billion.

"Juniper acquired SMobile and is diving headfirst into the enterprise mobile security market, while McAfee picked up two enterprise-focused mobile security companies,and Symantec picked up GuardianEdge," says Jeff Wilson, an analyst at Infonetics."All of these acquisitions are aimed directly at the enterprise space, and we expect a fierce battle to ensue. This consolidation will help drive the growth we're forecasting as larger vendors like Symantec, McAfee, and Juniper can put real marketing muscle behind the technology that they've acquired."

"This is the first time we've had deep security across mobile OSs, all major smartphone OSs," says Mark Bauhaus, executive vice president and general manager of the Service Layer Technologies business group at Juniper.

Bauhaus says nine out of 10 mobile consumers are "extremely concerned" about security, and that the number of smartphones will exceed the number of PCs in 2012.

Juniper, citing a study it commissioned, says fewer than four per cent of users use mobile devices strictly for business, while 44 per cent use them for both business and personal.  Nearly 81 per cent of these users access their employer's network without their employer's knowledge or permission, and 58 per cent do so every day.

Historically, IT departments have responded by issuing employees a limited set of mobile devices that they can uniformly secure and track, Juniper says. But this practice appears to be reversing as IT increasingly becomes consumerized, the company says.

Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite addresses this through its ability to secure virtually any personal mobile device, regardless of platform, Juniper says.

And on the consumer side, Juniper says more than 80% of mobile device owners store personal information on their handsets including sensitive health and financial data. The company's new software allows consumers to activate remote data wipes to discard sensitive information if the device is lost or stolen, Juniper says.

Bauhaus hinted that Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite might extend beyond smartphones, perhaps into the tablet world, in the near future. One place where it will not extend is in the fixed desktop PC realm, he says.

"We're focused on the mobile world," he says. "The PC world is well served."

Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite is available to enterprises now, and will be available to consumers through service providers this quarter.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

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