Trend Micro highlights maturity in mobile security

Companies realising need to protect handheld devices as much as other computers

Some companies prefer to let mobile OS makers handle security

"Companies are already taking more of an integrated approach than they took on the desktop; they're telling us that they don't want to support two or three different security applications on these devices because the handhelds don't have as much memory or storage capacity as a laptop," Thiemann said.

"The biggest issue right now for most enterprises is data leakage; they realize that in that regard, they need to apply the same level of rigor in protecting the mobile device that they have on the desktop, and that's driving demand for encryption and many of these other tools," he said.

In addition to the package's AV, firewall, intrusion detection, authentication, and encryption capabilities, Trend said that it is already differentiating from its rivals via integration of the mobile package with its OfficeScan Client/Server Edition 8.0 module -- which can be used to manage policies across Trend's entire desktop and network security lineup.

The company also hopes to win deals based on its work to tie the security package to the Windows Mobile and Symbian mobile device operating systems. While Symbian remains less used than other device OS platforms in North America, having the ability to support devices running on the software will be a key to winning deals with multinational enterprises, Trend officials contend.

However, some industry watchers said that overall demand for mobile device security applications remains scant.

While a handful large government entities and enterprise customers in highly-regulated industries, such as the financial services market, may be looking for advanced handheld protection capabilities, most companies are not ready to open the purse strings to buy more of the tools.

In North America, BlackBerry handhelds made by Research In Motion remain the most popular enterprise mobility devices, and the handhelds already have a strong level of authentication and encryption engrained into their operating systems, said John Pescatore, analyst with Gartner.

Outside of the BlackBerry environment, most enterprises are still dealing with the issue of supporting a wide variety of devices and operating systems, making it less feasible for them to standardize security systems, he said. And with the Windows Mobile platform, customers will wait for Microsoft to build its own security features into future iterations of the OS, the analyst said.

"When the next version of Windows Mobile comes out, Microsoft will have baked a lot more security functions into its software, so customers buying those handhelds will likely rely on those features for encryption and authentication," Pescatore said. "There will likely be some demand for additional mobile security tools from the military and some high-end segments including financial services, but the average enterprise doesn't have handheld security on their budget yet."

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