Palo Alto Networks' Secure MDM Platform Boosts User Privacy

Company's updated GlobalProtect platform helps businesses respect their employees' personal data.
Posted September 15, 2014
By

Pedro Hernandez


Further blurring the lines between mobile device management (MDM) and data security, firewall specialist Palo Alto Networks today announced an updated version of its GlobalProtect product.

As an app-aware, blended MDM-mobile threat prevention platform, GlobalProtect guards enterprise networks -- and the smartphones and tablets that connect to them -- by enlisting three major components. The GlobalProtect Gateway creates a secure virtual private network (VPN) connection with mobile devices and integrates with WildFire, the company's anti-malware platform.

The GlobalProtect app establishes a secure connection to the gateway and extends management capabilities to mobile devices. Finally, GlobalProtect Mobile Security's policy engine can be used to manage device and networking settings.

"Instead of relying solely on device management, GlobalProtect applies a combination of device management and network security working hand in hand, along with cloud-based intelligence on mobile apps and threats from the cloud," said Palo Alto Networks product marketing manager Brian Tokuyoshi in a company blog post. "This allows organizations to safely enable mobile devices by removing the risk rather than removing the function that introduces the risk."

Today, the company announced that it has added a handful of new features that help organizations establish secure app environments while keeping a user's personal data private.

Palo Alto Networks' Lee Klarich, senior vice president of product management, said in a statement that his company's solution allows "customers manage the often conflicting goals of enabling the use of mobile devices, keeping the network protected from malware and unauthorized data access, and respecting users' privacy." The integrated product "allows enterprises to retain the productivity benefits of the native mobile app experience while extending our Next-Generation Firewall and global threat intelligence capabilities from the network core to the endpoint device."

New enterprise app store functionality enables businesses to push approved apps to mobile devices. An app whitelisting option, of sorts, the feature supports the Apple App Store, Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) and Google Play.

GlobalProtect now allows business and personal data to co-exist on the same device without affecting one another.

Administrators can now set limits on data sharing between business and personal apps, preventing leaks and other breaches of sensitive corporate information. New selective wipe options can disable and remove managed apps, accounts and data while steering clear of a user's personal content, according to the company.

Palo Alto networks isn't the only MDM provider to provide data security features. Sophos and Trend Micro have grown beyond their antivirus roots to help businesses manage and secure their "bring your own device" (BYOD) environments. IT giants, including Dell and Oracle, have baked security into their MDM platforms as well.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.




Tags: mobile device management, MDM, BYOD


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