Mocana unwraps protection for iOS 7 apps

Support for Apple's latest OS will be available from Oct. 11

Mocana will soon allow companies to wrap iOS 7 apps in a layer of security software designed to insulate enterprise data from hackers who are becoming increasingly interested in smartphones.

"What people really care about is securing the data, and today everything is coming in and out of the applications themselves," said Tushar Patel, senior director of products at Mocana. "So we offer this product called Mobile App Protection, and it allows you to add a protective layer to applications that you have already been developed."

Version 2.5.6 of Mobile App Protection (MAP) includes stronger security features for apps running on iOS 7 and earlier version of the operating system. Once an application has been "wrapped," IT staff can add policies to control things like access, encryption and the ability to copy and paste between apps.

The new version of MAP also allows the use of encrypted tunnels that secure the connection between the application itself and the enterprise network, instead of just between an iPhone running iOS 7 and the enterprise VPN gateway.

Compatibility with the latest version of Apple's smartphone and tablet OS will be available from Oct. 11. At first, Mocana's software will be able to protect custom and Web applications that run on iOS 7. The standard version of the company's technology doesn't work with iTunes today, but that will be added over time, according to Patel.

"However, we have done some application security for partners who are distributing through iTunes. So its a matter of turning that work into a commercial product," Patel said.

The wrapping technology is already compatible with the Google Play store.

Mocana has also improved its browser, which was developed to allow users to access Web applications securely. The upgraded version allows enterprises more freedom to customize its functionality.

"Now you can toogle between functionality and security. Do you want users to be able to add bookmarks or do you want them to be able to search outside of the websites you are providing to them. It is also possible to customize the look-and-feel," Patel said.

In addition to working with Web apps, the browser allows enterprises to extend access to Microsoft's SharePoint, corporate intranet sites and portals. The company has also added single sign-on access to the browser.

Mocana may not be a household name, but its technology is used by vendors such as HTC, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics. The HTC One uses its encryption technology to protect data stored on the device and Samsung's Knox uses the company's VPN technology, according to Patel.

"We have also done Android specific work for the federal government to secure handsets. Unfortunately I can't talk about the details," Patel said.

Mocana charges for MAP on a per-user basis, and depending on the number of users it ispriced up to about US$20 per year.

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