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Pointsec partners get security push

In a move to bring data encryption and device security to the masses, Pointsec this week launched a new business unit focused solely on integrating security with partners.

Mobile e-mail, fueled mostly by the dawn of the BlackBerry, is creating a tremendous shift in the corporate world.

But with that shift comes a need for additional security because e-mail often contains sensitive information and is becoming a critical requirement for keeping in touch from any and all locations.

With that in mind, Pointsec Mobile Technologies this week announced a new business unit that will focus solely on bringing security -- namely data encryption -- to wireless devices within the enterprise.

"We see a tremendous shift toward mobilized e-mail boxes," said Pointsec's CEO Peter Larsson, who estimates that over the next few years more than 100 million mobile e-mail boxes will be in use.

With its newly formed Pointsec Wireless Solutions unit, the Stockholm-based mobile security vendor said it will have a hand in bringing integrated security to the enterprise by strengthening its channel partnerships with some of the leading wireless carriers and mobile device manufacturers.

"Encryption is becoming a serious issue," Larsson said. "We need to be able to protect this data that gets sent out to these devices."

Pointsec's mobile security software can be used on laptops, PDAs and smartphones that operate platforms such as Windows Mobile, Microsoft Pocket PC, Symbian, and Palm. Other partnerships include device makers Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and i-mate.

Larsson said this push toward mobile security could help other carriers and device makers rival Research In Motion Ltd.'s widely popular BlackBerry by allowing them to offer strong, integrated encryption capabilities.

"It could provide new players solutions that are enterprise ready," he said.

In the past, Pointsec has gone directly to the enterprises to secure devices and data. The new business unit will instead rely on a series of partnerships with the carriers and handset makers to give enterprises a one-stop-shop for devices and security.

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Part of the push was spawned by increased use in the enterprise of smartphones, which are becoming more and more popular, regardless of BlackBerry's staying power. Also, Larsson said, with the proliferation of varying devices within enterprises, mobile managers are looking for a security solution that can support them all with one management platform.

"With enterprise acceptance of smartphone technology growing with the rise to business-friendly applications such as push e-mail, we feel that now is the perfect time to increase our focus on this growing market," Larsson said in a statement. "The formation of Pointsec Wireless Solutions ensures that we are dedicating the resources and providing the specialized expertise required for a successful channel program in the wireless market and signifies Pointsec's commitment to serving the security needs of enterprise wireless users."

Encryption and access control for wireless and mobile devices lets managers ensure that data stored on and sent to the devices can remain confidential, even if a device is lost or stolen. Pointsec uses an "on-the-fly" encryption method that allows encryption to be performed based on an organization's security policies without requiring action from end users. The encryption results in virtually no performance difference for the device, Larsson said.

Michael Cavey, general manager of content and services for i-mate, a Pointsec partner, said his company has seen an increase in the demand for mobile-based solutions for enterprise customers, especially with the recent deployment of Windows Mobile Direct Push e-mail. He said in a statement that the new Pointsec Wireless Solutions unit will allow i-mate to better meet customers' mobile security needs.

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