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February 15, 2013

F5's Feeling Alive with Newly Unveiled Mobile App Manager

As the bring your own device trend continues to be implemented at a rapid pace by companies throughout the globe, mobile device management solutions are needed in order to protect confidential enterprise data as well as be proactive against being infiltrated by a cyber attacker. However, most MDM offerings currently on the market have significant flaws in their approach ranging from powering an ultra high level of control over a user’s personal device/experience, transitioning everything on the device to become an “enterprise” problem and making it very challenging to VPN only corporate traffic.

I recently had the chance to speak with both Rich Campagna, senior director of Product Management at F5 Networks as well as Greg Maudsley, product marketing manager at F5 Networks all about how the company’s just released Mobile App Manager is helping to overcome theses obstacles and many more.

F5 Networks is based in Seattle, WA with a number of development and sales offices globally. Last year alone, the business touched nearly $1.4 billion in revenue and at this time has approximately 3,000 employees. Founded back in 1996 although F5 is known primarily as a firm that designs and builds application delivery controllers, it also provides traffic management, availability, acceleration and security services.

Taking the heavily lifting off applications while ensuring that they’re available and perform at an unprecedented level, Mobile App Manager is touted as a new cloud-based mobile application management and access solution that enables enterprises to safely and cost-effectively support BYOD initiatives. In essence, it allows businesses to extend corporate applications and data to employees’ personal mobile devices while steering away from touching personal content all together.

As F5 continued to notice huge shifts in mobility, it realized that now was perfect time to officially unveil this product.

According to company officials, “Employees prefer this approach because it removes their personal data from corporate oversight yet gives them the convenience of using their own mobile devices for both work and personal use. For IT organizations, Mobile App Manager relieves the burden and responsibility of managing employee-owned devices while still enabling them to control device access to their network, track inventory, monitor threats and vulnerabilities, and protect corporate information.”

Not only does this next-generation offering have the ability to transform an app from an unmanaged app into a secure, managed app, but it adds app-level security, secure and managed PIM and seamlessly integrates enterprise e-mail, calendar, contacts, notes. It also powers a fully secure and managed browser that Campagna touts as “combining blacklists and whitelists without reliance on proxies, powering enterprise proxy configuration and pushing configurations via F5 Mobile App Manager.

He added, “It basically places a security blanket around that application that allows the organization to have full control over jus that application.”

Additionally with this release comes a robust app store that offers users a full-featured catalog including screen shots, descriptions, recent change history, featured apps, ratings and reviews; supports PCI-compliant payment processing; restricts content based on role; and lastly organizes apps, content, users and policies into bundles.

“Our view is that traditionally what customers are buying for mobile device management has been allowing them to manage policies on the device. Our approach and our differentiator is that we provide security for enterprise data and the enterprise application. Thus, it’s much more a security story and less a mobile management story, enabling complete user freedom without any sacrificing IT’s need to secure that enterprise data,” Campagna concluded.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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