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Bluefire catches on at Johns Hopkins

Bluefire Security Technologies has released its Mobile Firewall Plus software for securing handheld devices, and an IT director with Johns Hopkins Medicine says his company is using it to update PDA security profiles and to keep patient medical data safe.

Following a successful pre-release trial with a large enterprise customer, Baltimore, Md.-based Bluefire Security Technologies, Inc. has released its Mobile Firewall Plus security software for handheld devices.

Designed to prevent unauthorized access to enterprises, the software protects both devices and data, and minimizes organizational exposure to handheld vulnerabilities.

According to the company, Mobile Firewall Plus offers Advanced Encryption Standard-based encryption, power-on password prompts, and cross-packet data analysis that secures mobile devices and their networks from attacks and malicious code transmissions during synchronization.

For enterprise mobile device managers, the product offers alerts so that administrators are notified of changes in system files, registries and applications. The software also has a feature called Enterprise Manager that centrally controls devices, defines security policies and deploys security rules.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, the non-profit health care consortium in Baltimore, Md. that includes the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital & Health System, recently tested the software's ability to protect patient data transmitted and stored on handheld devices in its clinical care areas.

Scott Biggs, director of enterprise services for Johns Hopkins, said his company not only wanted to protect patient medical data, in accordance with the latest United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines, but also make sure that both Pocket PC- and Palm-based devices had the latest security updates.

"The Bluefire updates itself from a centralized console, so the PDAs check for both for standard systems images as well as updated software," Biggs said. "We also wanted to ensure that patient info is secure on the individual devices, and the Bluefire software looks like it fits the bill."

Biggs said after two months of use, Johns Hopkins didn't encounter any major problems with the software, though it did cause the batteries to drain more quickly on a number of devices. He said the company hopes to incorporate the software with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) system in the near future.

A Mobile Firewall Plus starter kit, which includes one Enterprise Manager license and 50 user licenses, is priced at $15,000.


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