Three Minutes with Nokia's Enterprise Chief

Security and enterprise issues and services are taking new priority for the handset maker.

Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, is well known for its consumer devices but maintains a range of enterprise products. Mary McDowell is executive vice president and general manager of Nokia's Enterprise Solutions, a division that deals with products from the E Series phones to security appliances to software such as the Intellisync Mobile Suite, designed to manage a fleet of enterprise devices. She spoke with Jeremy Kirk about Nokia's direction in several enterprise areas.

Where are the sources of growth for Enterprise Solutions?

We had growth in both our devices and in our software business. We did not have growth in the security business. That's been relatively flat given the state of the perimeter security market.

Nokia has a lot of partners for mobile security products but as of yet no stand-alone security product. Are there plans to release one?

We are going to be releasing in the fourth quarter a mobile VPN client. We did have one in the past but it only worked with Nokia appliances ... but this will be a stand-alone VPN client that can be downloaded from the Nokia [Web] site to a Series 60 device.

You mentioned that security is the first or second question that comes up from IT managers when discussing mobile devices. What do you tell those IT managers who are nervous that their company could be the next source for a data breach caused by a mobile device?

Certainly that comes up in the discussion around the deployment of mobile technology. Then we would discuss the various options. Do you want security that's going to be embedded in specific applications? If you're looking at multiple applications across a heterogenous device base, device management is a logical conversation to have. Are you going to be doing more browser-based apps? It kind of depends on the specific architecture of what they are going to mobilize.

The firewall/VPN area is crowded with lots of vendors and lots of products. How is Nokia competing, and can you detail more on Nokia's partnership with Intel?

Our strategy has been to have a combination of very good performance for application processing, which got a lot stronger this year with the rollout of multiprocessing, multicore platforms and to complement that with very fast network processing. This week or next week we will have a new release of our IPSO operating system to support multiprocessing and then an advanced processing card, which should be shipping in the fourth quarter. So a pretty major product overhaul.

We had been constrained in the past ... by not having the multiprocessing capability in IPSO. And so once we made the decision to make that investment in refreshing the underlying BSD kernel to support multiprocessing, that opened up the possibility to work more closely with the embedded side of Intel and get access to some of their earlier technology to incorporate into our appliances. Prior to that, we were a little bit downstream of some for their latest advances, but now we have a lot more visibility into their road map.

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