Fixmo Will Block Corporate Apps on Compromised Mobiles

Fixmo, a company that started out developing tools for the U.S. National Security Agency, is offering a new product that will automatically shut down corporate applications on compromised iOS and Android devices.

Fixmo MRM, which stands for mobile risk management, integrates two products. One is Fixmo Sentinel, which has its roots in the NSA technology and regularly scans a phone to ensure that it is adhering to policies set by the organization. Consisting of both back-end and on-device software, it alerts an administrator to any unauthorized changes to the phones.

The second component to Fixmo MRM is Fixmo SafeZone, which has been available for a few months as a "tech preview." SafeZone is a secure container that runs on iOS and Android devices. All data in the SafeZone is encrypted and users can't copy data from inside the zone to outside.

Fixmo has built apps, including email, calendar, contacts, a browser and an Office doc reader, that run inside the SafeZone. It also offers tools that software makers can use to enable their products to run inside the secure container.

Fixmo MRM combines both products so that administrators can now instruct the software to take action in the event of specified activities. For instance, if Sentinel detects that the device has been rooted, it can automatically lock down the SafeZone so it's inaccessible. The user, who may have purchased the device, can continue to use the rest of the tablet or phone.

That could prohibit someone from rooting the phone and installing software that might enable screen captures in the SafeZone, said Tyler Lessard, chief marketing officer for Fixmo.

Customers that want the full package of software including mobile device management, Sentinel and SafeZone will pay around US$90 per device per year.

Fixmo joins other companies offering products aiming to secure corporate data on mobile devices. Enterproid also offers secure container technology, but is currently limited to Android devices and doesn't offer the compliance technology.

Companies including VMware, Red Bend and Open Kernel Labs are also developing or have launched mobile virtualization technology.

Fixmo isn't opposed to using true virtualization to protect corporate data from malicious activity on devices that people use for both personal and work applications. "The reality is our customers need solutions that work today on iPads, iPhones and Android. This is a first approach," said Lessard. Since virtualization requires hardware makers to build the technology into the phones before they reach store shelves, there are very few models that currently have the technology. As more virtualized phones hit the market, Fixmo will look at migrating to the technology, he said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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