Symantec targets partners to develop better mobile security

To broaden its mobile-device security effort, Symantec today said it would set up a partner program to encourage third-party app developers to build-in the type of security controls, such as enforced encryption, used in the Symantec app-management and security product.

The Symantec App Center Ready program will provide a software developer's kit (SDK) that will allow developers to bake in various types of security, such as required log-in or enforced encryption, for business apps, according to Brian Duckering, senior manager at the enterprise mobility group at Symantec.

ANALYSIS: How BYOD has changed the IT landscape

Companies that today use Symantec App Center (based on the acquisition of startup Nukona made earlier this year) already can make use of this type of SDK to build security into apps, said Duckering, and this is the first time Symantec will be making this SDK available to vendors as well.

Symantec's Nukona acquisition was made primarily to give Symantec a platform approach for securing and managing apps aimed at the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend in which enterprises allow employees to use their mobile devices, most typically Apple iOS or Google Android, to be used for business purposes.

The BYOD approach allows for securing apps used for business purposes on personally owned devices. Symantec's other main mobile product, Symantec Mobile Manager, is mainly for enrolling corporate-owned mobile devices and managing them.

Symantec acknowledges Mocana is its main competitor when it comes to Symantec App Center. "Mocana is the only one taking a similar approach to what we're doing," said Duckering. Symantec has also divulged publicly it's investing in Mocana as well.

In related news on the mobile front, Symantec also said it has set up a partner training program called Mobility Solution Specialization Program to train channel partners on Symantec products. In addition, Symantec is adding licensing options under what it calls Mobile Management Suite which bundles all the Symantec products together for user-based pricing, typically under $140 per user per year for Apple iOS or Android. The main reason for doing this, says Duckering, is to accommodate customer demand to move from one Symantec mobile-management product to another during a certain time period with predictable pricing. Symantec also said by year-end it will offer a Managed PKI App for Android.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email: emessmer@nww.com.

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

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