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October 22, 2012

Fixmo Announces AppZone Mobile Application Management, New Partnerships

Fixmo, a company that pursues a certain sense of uniqueness by considering itself a “mobile risk management” (MRM) company (rather than a mobile device management vendor), helps organizations identify, mitigate and manage the risks associated with mobile devices in the workplace. The company’s defense-grade MRM solutions approach provides a security layer that allows companies to deploy a range of mobile devices and applications while maintaining system integrity, protecting confidential data and ensuring regulatory compliance (critical for healthcare and financial services).

Fixmo’s MRM technology has been under development as part of a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

The Fixmo MRM platform delivers the following services:

  • Fixmo Sentinel: MDM and Integrity Verification Services
  • Fixmo AppZone
  • Fixmo SafeZone: Delivers secure container and enterprise productivity apps
  • Fixmo SafeGuard App Security SDK: Allows mobile app developers to wrap mobile apps with FIPS 140-2 encryption and advanced policy controls.

With its core platform now in place, the company is now transitioning from technology-building to business-building. Along those lines, Fixmo has now announced a new component of its platform – Fixmo AppZone, which defines the company’s efforts to get on the mobile application management (MAM) bandwagon, such as MobileIron and Zenprise are beginning to do.

The company has also announced a number of partnerships with App47, NetAuthority, Accellion, Cellcrypt and Tapterathat it believes will allow it to more aggressively tackle the mobile marketplace. App47 and NetAuthority are partnering with Fixmo to deliver technology enhancements for Fixmo MRM. The latter three are partnerships based more on marketing than anything else, but there is no avoiding marketing when transitioning from technology-building to business-building.

Those three are better described as new customers than partners, but they nevertheless enhance Fixmo’s overall emerging reputation.

Fixmo AppZone

Fixmo AppZone is a cloud-based solution that builds on Fixmo’s existing suite of services, and will allow IT organizations to centrally manage, support, optimize and secure its growing fleet of mobile apps. AppZone adds the following capabilities to the Fixmo MRM platform:

  • Secure Enterprise App Store: Allows businesses to manage the distribution and support of in-house developed mobile apps and third party commercial apps.
  • App Testing, Performance Monitoring and Crash Analysis tools: Allows IT organizations to better pinpoint performance issues and work out application bugs prior to deploying mobile apps into production.
  • App Wrapping SDK: Allows businesses to add advanced performance monitoring, real-time usage analytics, custom event notifications and compliance reporting to both new and existing mobile apps.

As part of the new platform release, Fixmo has also announced the Fixmo AppZone Challenge, a limited-time offer for enterprise and government customers to deploy Fixmo’s cloud-based enterprise app store solution for one year at no charge.

Partnerships: App47 and NetAuthority

In addition to the launch of Fixmo AppZone utilizing App47 technology, Fixmo and App47 have announced a larger strategic partnership, the goal of which will be to deliver an end-to-end solution for mobile application security, management, analytics and compliance. We will note here that that the “risk” piece of Fixmo’s MRM branding is closely tied to compliance – especially in healthcare, as an example, local, state and federal compliance rules and personal privacy issues will be both burdensome and difficult to meet – Fixmo looks to ensure that compliance, privacy and related risk management, are fully met and delivered.

Fixmo has also announced that it has partnered with NetAuthority, a provider of strong device-centric authentication and transaction verification solutions, to bring advanced access control and identity verification capabilities to the Fixmo SafeZone secure workspace. Fixmo SafeZone is a secure container environment for iOS and Android devices that keeps all corporate data – including e-mail, browsing, documents and custom apps – encrypted, password-protected and under IT control. The new partnership allows Fixmo to utilize NetAuthority’s patented dynamic key-generation and authentication technology to add additional layers of access control within Fixmo SafeZone, in order to ensure that only authorized devices are accessing corporate networks and applications.

With the NetAuthority technology in place, in addition to user authentication the devices themselves must now prove their identity before being authenticated and given access to corporate applications and data. Devices will be required to authenticate using device keys generated by NetAuthority that cannot be spoofed and can irrefutably (so Fixmo claims) identify and authenticate any device based on key characteristics. Of key importance, all of this must be - and is - completely transparent to the user and does not require any manual interaction.

The NetAuthority solution will be offered as an optional Fixmo SafeZone plug-in, and will prevent security breaches as well as man-in-the-middle and man-in-the-browser attacks in which a rogue device can intercept critical information between authenticated users. This is, again, very key to the entire notion of MRM for Fixmo.

Partnerships: Accellion, Cellcrypt and Taptera

Following the partnership announcements with App47 and NetAuthority, Fixmo has also announced its new “Secured for Fixmo SafeZone” partner program. The goal here is to establish a community of partners who will offer versions of their enterprise apps to run specifically within Fixmo SafeZone.

Through the program, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) will be able to “wrap their apps” to run within the Fixmo SafeZone secure container, alongside out-of-the-box secure apps for corporate e-mail, browsing, document viewing and editing, image capture and access to Microsoft SharePoint. As we noted earlier, these capabilities are in line with what MobileIron and Zenprise – both of them MDM vendors seeking to evolve into MAM players – also recently announced.

Applications secured for Fixmo SafeZone can leverage Fixmo’s FIPS 140-2 AES 256-bit encryption of data-at-rest and data-in-transit, integrated jailbreak/root detection, application-level policy controls, multi-factor authentication, and IT policy commands that ensure all corporate data can be wiped from a device without impacting their personal data and apps. Contained apps can also leverage inter-process communication and secure file-sharing with other apps residing within the secure container environment without exposing themselves to the personal apps on the device.

Initial partners – or customers – include Accellion, a secure mobile file sharing provider; Cellcrypt, a vendor focused on encrypted voice calling from mobile devices - including iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices; and Taptera, a mobile enterprise applications developer. Each of these companies will offer enhanced versions of their mobile products that will specifically run within Fixmo SafeZone’s secure container for iOS and Android devices.

Taptera develops enterprise collaboration, business productivity and sales force automation solutions for iOS and Android devices. It is the most interesting of the three companies relative to opening doors for Fixmo. Through the partnership, Taptera’s existing apps - many of which integrate tightly with Salesforce.com, Box and Microsoft’s platforms - will be Fixmo SafeZone-enabled.

But Taptera will also offer new mobile apps on an ongoing basis. Taptera has a growing portfolio of business apps that include: 

  • Colleagues and Rooms: Business apps that help employees collaborate and maximize their productivity around the office.
  • Events: An application for maximizing productivity and engagement at internal and external conferences and meetings.
  • Crescendo: Custom solutions for organizations who need dynamic ways to access, view and potentially edit their documents.
  • Collateral: Delivers seamless and optimized access to Salesforce.com on smartphones and tablets.
  • The newly-launched Sophia: A “the child of Siri and Salesforce,” built to add powerful voice capabilities to Salesforce.com.

From a marketing perspective Taptera looks to offer the most marketing bang for the buck.

Is Fixmo on the right track? It’s too early to tell how the company will do against already established players – which in addition to MobileIron and Zenprise include Boxtone, SAP’s Afaria, AirWatch, Good Technology and SOTI, among others. As we’ve noted, MRM - looking at “risk” management overall, and targeting that to high-need verticals such as healthcare and financial services - is a differentiator, at least in marketing terms. Whether it is a real-world differentiator remains to be seen, but the scale of success will certainly be easy enough to measure over the next year – the new partnerships are a good start; now we merely need to continue to count the number of customers that get with Fixmo’s MRM program.

Edited by Braden Becker

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