Motorola's 'Good' Moves in Secure Mobile Access

Handset maker's Good Technology unit intros VPN desgned for broader, safer application use on wireless devices.

By Judy Mottl | Posted Jun 2, 2008
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Recognizing that mobile device users want access to enterprise applications at the same time IT is growing increasingly concerned about wireless data protection, Motorola (NYSE: MOT) has beefed up its Good Mobility Suite to help meet both demands.

Version 6.0 of the suite offers a managed, virtual private network (VPN), as well as enhanced management capabilities, a simpler architecture and improved user interface features.

The new VPN, called the Good Mobile Connection, provides an IT-managed data connection designed to safely link user devices to data and applications secured behind an enterprise firewall.

"We're at a pivotal point in mobile device computing," Brian Havener, group product manager for Good Technology, told InternetNews.com. "These aren't just e-mail devices being managed, these are now modules on the network and need to be treated as such."

It's the first major news related to Good Technology since Motorola acquired the firm in late 2006.

Good Technology provides mobile computing software and service akin to Research in Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) Blackberry Enterprise Server offering, which reigns as the most popular enterprise mobile messaging platform.

"We're seeing the fruits of the marriage, and this moves Motorola beyond being viewed as a handset maker and into the role of mobile solutions provider," Carmi Levy, senior vice president for strategic consulting at AR Communications, told InternetNews.com.

"This is very much in the spirit of RIM and positions Motorola as a competitor," he said. "This is how IT wants mobile computing. They want a complete, secure system."

The Good Technology announcement also comes on the heels of growing indications that device users want more than e-mail capabilities while mobile device security is gaining more attention.

A recent McAfee survey reported that more than three quarters of users don't have any security programs on mobile devices.

RIM and RSA recently debuted new two-factor authentication for the BlackBerry to provide secure access to enterprise wireless networks as well as network applications

In January, RIM also announced several security updates to its BlackBerry Server 4.1.5, including configurable document retention policy settings. The company said it was redesigning its platform to provide a customizable solution to better meet individual businesses' security and user needs.

Concurrently, vendors are racing to foster development to meet burgeoning user expectations for applications. In May, Motorola announced a toolset to drive mobile software creation on its MOTODEV platform.

Meanwhile, RIM is offering $150 million for agnostic development and venture capital firmKleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers launched a $100 million "iFund," with Apple's support, to spur iPhone application innovation.

Securing the mobile link

At the heart of Motorola's new Good Mobility Suite is a network-agnostic connection using the Good Network Operations Center (NOC) to behind-the-firewall data and applications.

The Good Mobile Connection enables organizations to deploy any application using standard TCP protocols over its transport, without having to make modifications or develop custom code.

Additionally, IT can set granular data access restrictions using the Good Administration Center, a management console for deploying and managing applications, devices, security policies and data access rights.

The system uses Web services APIs that automate management operations and allows for integration with third-party management portals and processes.

Good Mobile Messaging 6.0 also boasts a few new interface features, such as a customizable home screen and voice-activated dialing even when a device is password-protected.

"Ten years ago, we used our phones as a phone," telecom analyst Jeff Kagan told InternetNews.com. "In that world, no one thought much about security."

But with mounting threats facing mobile, Kagan said Motorola's jumping into the mobile device protection area is "smart".

"At some point, we will suddenly be reading about mass attacks and then customers will be rushing to protect their devices, and that day is coming much closer," he said.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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