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IT shops on the Lookout for enterprise mobile security gain new option

Lookout for Business was introduced this week, but whether the consumer security app provider can make an enterprise impact remains to be seen.

With the rise of BYOD comes the need for mobile security and one security company has created a suite of features for business.

This week San Francisco-based Lookout, Inc. introduced its  Lookout for Business suite, gearing their mobile security offerings to enterprise.

Lookout’s business suite includes remote locate, lock and wipe for both administrators and employees for devices. Administrators and end users have separate dashboards they can access for managing their devices.

Other features include malware and spyware protection, real-time cloud based updates without the need to update manually and Lookout's Signal Flare, which is used to locate a lost or stolen device.

There are limitations to what Lookout for Business offers, chiefly that it's only available for Android devices at the time of release, while support for Apple Inc. iOS devices is "coming soon," according to the company.

Is Lookout a viable enterprise MDM option?

It's not clear what kind of impact Lookout for Business will have on the enterprise because they're already far behind other mobile device management (MDM) providers like AirWatch and MobileIron among many others, according to Michael Finneran, a mobile analyst and president of dBrn Associates in Hewlett Neck, N.Y.

In fact, Finneran thinks that because of continued consolidation and changes in the market, MDM as we know it now will cease to exist in the next two years, making it difficult for companies like Lookout to carve out a niche.

Adding a business suite was a logical next step for Lookout after years as a consumer leader, according to Eric Klein, senior mobility analyst at VDC Research, Inc., a mobile analyst firm based in Natick, Mass. Lookout claims to have 45 million customers worldwide.

"What they do is just as viable for business as it is for a consumer," Klein said.

But there's no new technology within the security application itself in what Lookout rolled out this week, according to Klein.

From a platform perspective, Klein suggested Lookout for Business isn't comprehensive enough to meet the needs of a large corporation but is much more viable for small or mid-sized businesses. However, that's still a valuable market the current enterprise mobility management vendor field hasn't really tapped into yet, Klein said.

There's also the matter of better malware-detecting security features Google has built into Android devices after the struggles with the Google Play app store before Android 4.0. While that may preempt some of the need for security apps like Lookout and its competitor, Avast, Klein still believes items like the remote wipe and Signal Flare have value to the enterprise.

Pricing for Lookout for Business is $5 per month per device.

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