Juniper launches mobile security play

Following its acquisition of mobile security vendor S-Mobile, Juniper Networks has both rebranded and repositioned its mobile security suite.

Following its acquisition of mobile security vendor S-Mobile, Juniper Networks has both rebranded and repositioned its mobile security suite. The company will be pitching its offerings both to the enterprise customer, to protect corporate networks against mobile-borne threats, and to service providers wanting to improve consumer mobile security.

The Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite has as its target markets both the enterprise and the service provider. For enterprises, the aim is to secure business networks against threats introduced when employees use their smartphones for access to corporate e-mail and data; for the service provider, the pitch is the ability to offer users security as an incremental service (for example, as an optional plan offering).

The suite includes anti-virus, personal firewall, anti-spam, loss and theft protection, and device monitoring and control.

One of the enduring questions in network security has to be the sense of deja-vu that comes with every new class of device. SearchNetworking asked Alex Krawchuk, SP director for Juniper Networks, how it came about that corporate networks found themselves undefended by the emergence of iPads, iPhones, and Android-based devices.

“People are buying smartphones and other devices for home use. Then they realise that they can access their business e-mail from those devices, and that’s how the threat arises,” Krawchuk said.

“People clearly enjoy the experience of using these devices more than their notebook – it becomes a function of our always-connected culture.”

The smartphone also inherits an assumption that phone’s don’t contain enough data to represent a serious compromise, something that’s no longer true.

“The phone is smaller and doesn’t have as much information”, he said – but as phones get more capacity and become more capable of accessing the corporate network, they become a vector for intrusion.

“Your smartphone might then be the unprotected channel via which the infected e-mail bypasses the firewall. Or the smartphone can develop into being the new point at which malware is inserted into the network.”

Announcing the security suite, Juniper cited the results of research which suggests that as many as 76% of consumers use devices like smartphones and tablets to access sensitive information such as passwords, banking information, employers’ data and the like. This, the company believes, creates a requirement that the devices are protected.

Juniper also claimed that as many as 5% of Android applications request permissions that would allow calls to be placed without the user’s knowledge.

On the service provider side, Krawchuk said a clear market opportunity is created by the number of children and teenagers adopting smartphone devices. Children, he observed, are familiar with the technology but “have no judgement”.

Service providers, he said, are in a bind with the emergence of the smartphone: “they don’t want to lose money providing a service, but they’re not getting a share of the app dollar.

“But they could, for example, offer a small increment on the plan for loss or theft prevention. A million subscribers paying two dollars a year for this is a good business model.”

The introduction of the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite also heralds the emergence of a new business model for Juniper, Krawchuk said.

Given that the service providers will be the primary channel through which the product is delivered to enterprise customers, he said there would be opportunities for SPs to “deal themselves into more revenue” with the security suite. This might, for example, take the form of a value-add on top of a managed services contact with enterprise customers.

But the launch also heralds a growing move towards Juniper taking a role as a software vendor. The company has opened up its Junos operating system, allowing other software and hardware vendors to build applications on top of that environment.

“We’re morphing away from being a networking company selling hardware, and heading towards a company that’s adding more value with software and other devices.”

Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite at a glance

Anti-virus – A device-based application covering files received over SMS, MMS, e-mail, direct download, Bluetooth, infrared and other connections.

Personal firewall – Device-based inbound and outbound filtering at the port and IP address level.

Anti-spam – Blacklist filtering including blocking of voice and SMS spam, with automatic denial for unknown or unwanted calls.

Loss/theft protection – Remote lock and/or wipe of devices, device backup and restore, SIM change notification.

Device monitoring and control – Application inventory and removal, SMS/MMS and e-mail content monitoring, view photos stored on devices, view call logs remotely.

 

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