Startup takes mobile data security to the file level

With high-profile data breaches becoming more prevalent, IT can look to tools that protect mobile devices down to the file level.

When it comes to mobile data security, IT can lock down devices or go deeper to file-level encryption to keep sensitive information out of the wrong hands.

A startup called Vera (formerly Veradocs) of Palo Alto, Calif., recently came out of stealth with a product of the same name that takes the latter approach to protect data no matter where it goes.

Vera gives IT enhanced control over corporate data and integrates with Google Drive, Box, Dropbox and Microsoft systems including Office 365, Outlook and OneDrive. Data loss prevention policies are embedded at the file level and travel with the data. Unauthorized users can request to access the data, but can only be granted that access by the file's administrator.

Vera doesn't store corporate data, files or encryption keys, nor does it proxy data.

"With [the Internet of Things] poised to create almost immeasurable amounts of data, having a security foundation that spans across vendors and applications is critical," said Alan Lepofsky, analyst and vice president at Constellation Research in Toronto.

Vera's co-founders, CEO Ajay Arora and CTO Prakash Linga, previously founded mobile security company RAPsphere, acquired by AppSense Inc. in 2012.

In an era of bring your own device and major data breaches, IT must face the reality that important corporate data may end up in the wrong hands.  So taking a device-based approach to security doesn't work as well as securing data, Arora said.

Recruiting firm taps Vera for mobile data security

'If it's not easy, people will bail on it.'
Ron HarrisonCEO, Jivaro Professional Headhunters

The inevitability of losing data was something Jivaro Professional Headhunters wanted to combat head-on. The technology industry recruiting firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif., sought a product to prevent competing firms from stealing resumes from Jivaro clients -- a significant problem for the company, said Ron Harrison, Jivaro's CEO.

Jivaro would send resumes to hiring managers and sometimes those hiring managers would send resumes to someone at another company without the hiring firm's knowledge. Jivaro recruits for many companies in stealth who want to protect that kind of information, Harrison said.

What began as a relationship with Vera around recruiting blossomed into Jivaro implementing Vera, first rolling it out to its management team, Harrison said. User experience was also a key factor for the Jivaro team.

"If it's not easy, people will bail on it," Harrison said. "We didn't want something that was going to be cumbersome to use."

Jivaro mainly uses Vera through its Outlook email environment, as well as its customer relationship management system from MaxHire Solutions, Inc. Employees also use Google Drive internally to store Vera-secured files.

"We can drag and drop files anywhere and we know it's safe," Harrison said.

Because the version Jivaro used was still in beta, there were several minor bugs and usability issues, but Vera dealt with those issues quickly, he said. Jivaro plans to roll Vera into more of its back office systems including paychecks, tax information and W-2 forms.

File-level encryption options abound

Vera isn't alone in its mission. Services that provide file-level encryption are popping up throughout the market, from standalone vendors such as  SearchYourCloud and enterprise mobility management platforms including MobileIron Inc.'s Content Security Service.

In addition, Dropbox and Box's business versions have enterprise security features. Vera faces a challenge in how it will interact with those features, Lepofsky said.

"Each file-sharing vendor promotes their own layers of security," Lepofsky said. "Where will Vera compete with or complement those features, and will customers be willing to spend on it?"  

Vera has not determined a final price for its product, although it will be available on per user, per month basis and should include a free model for an introductory version down the road, Arora said.

Vera is available as a software-as-a-service product running in public or private clouds or as an appliance behind a firewall. It supports Windows 7 and 8 and Mac OS X on desktops and Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows Phone 8 on mobile devices.

Jake O'Donnell is the news writer for and Search He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JakeODonnell_TT.

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