Mobile Helix has launched a new platform based around HTML5 aimed at securing data on mobile devices. It is designed to allow organisations to implement a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy for their workers while keeping sensitive information safe.
Called Link, the platform has been undergoing trials with pilot customers, but is commercially available from today. It takes the approach of sandboxing corporate apps and data inside a secure container, rather than attempting to lock down the entire device.
Matt Bancroft, co-founder and chief operating officer at Mobile Helix, said that approach is no longer valid in the new world of work, where people expect to be able to use their own devices to get their job done.
"There's been an explosion in mobile computing devices in recent years, and people want to use them for work. Under the old model of IT, they used to give you a device that was approved and set the rules for how you could use it, but people aren't willing to accept that anymore," he said.
Nevertheless, enterprises still have a need to ensure that corporate data is kept safe, and that is where Link comes in, according to Bancroft.
"You can access work information on your own devices in the way you choose, but in a way that does not compromise on security," he claimed.
A Link deployment comprises three components; a secure container that sits on each endpoint device with a HTML5 browser inside it; a gateway through which the browser links back to the corporate network; and an admin tool called the Controller which is cloud-based and used to provision devices, add users, set policies and perform, analytics.
Because Link is based on applications built with HTML5, the applications themselves are cross-platform. This is a key concern for BYOD as it should allow users to run applications on any device they choose.
In practice, users are restricted to any platform for which Link has a native secure container. This currently includes only Apple iOS and Android devices, but Mobile Helix is working to add support for Windows PCs, Mac OS X and BlackBerry 10 devices.
This will be a relatively trivial process, according to Bancroft. Once all these platforms are supported, customers will then have a single platform for enterprise application delivery and support across PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones, he added.
Because Link is based around HTML5, existing web-based applications will work unmodified, according to Bancroft, and have a native appearance on every platform.
The secure container is fully encrypted, so data is secure even if the device is rooted or hacked, and data communication is also encrypted. The container can be used to hold data for offline access, governed by policies set by the administrator.
Mobile Helix is also making available a software development kit (SDK) for the creation of custom apps, but which can also be used to make an existing app more mobile-friendly by adding location-aware capability, for example. Sample apps can be seen on the firm's website.
Link is being licensed on a straight forward per-user per-month basis, with pricing set at about $90 (£57) per-user per-month.
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