Sophos today announced the latest version of its mobile device management  (MDM) solution, Sophos Mobile Control 2.5. With an updated web-based administrative console and extensive new feature set, the latest version provides a simple way to bring BYOD into the enterprise, quickly, safely and securely, all while reducing the reliance upon IT.
The Growing Issues and Opportunities of BYOD (and BYOT)
Businesses of all sizes are embracing the use of personal devices on their corporate network as a means to reduce IT expenses. According to the Cisco IBSG Horizons Study published in May of 2012, 95 percent of companies allow employee-owned devices in some shape or form, with 84 percent providing some level of support, and 36 percent providing full support for these devices. And according to the June 2012 Forrester Research, Inc. report, “Charting the Rising Tide of Bring-Your-Own Technology,” BYOT brings both issues and opportunities into an IT organization, and info workers recognize that. 35 percent stated that their organization would make them uninstall or stop using the unauthorized software they have installed. Given the tremendous momentum behind this trend, blocking or ignoring BYOT will put an organization at a distinct disadvantage, such as not being able to attract top talent or to collaborate and share documents easily with business partners outside corporate boundaries.
Increased control, reduced intervention
Sophos Mobile Control 2.5 has optimized workflows, so IT administrators can complete many common tasks in just one click. The new version also offers easy integration with existing IT infrastructure by supporting the use of directories, such as Active Directory, to automatically assign newly-registered devices to existing groups and apply the associated policies to them.
The enhanced interface includes detailed graphical reports to assist IT administrators in managing all aspects of mobile devices, offering them immediate insight into which devices require updating, and ensuring that all devices are secure.
“BYOD is top of mind for myriad organizations; however, it’s causing some concern among IT. The increase in personal devices accessing the network may complicate the process of ensuring devices are secure and compliant with company policies, making it difficult for IT to justify broad BYOD acceptance,” said Stacy K. Crook, senior analyst, Mobile Enterprise Research, IDC. “Solutions with features like those found in the latest version of Sophos Mobile Control allow organizations to develop BYOD strategies without compromising on security, or complicating the overall management of the network.”
Ensuring compliance, on the go
It is increasingly difficult to manage employees’ mobile devices through self-service portals because employees often are unable to access the internet. Sophos’ new mobile client interface includes a compliance tab, which provides the device’s compliance status, reasons for non-compliance and any actions the user needs to resolve the issue, thereby alleviating the need for IT help. The user can also access their current compliance status and a list of issues in the self-service portal.
Sophos Mobile Control 2.5 offers improved risk mitigation, such as allowing IT to remotely conduct a corporate wipe of a device if an employee leaves the company or remains non-compliant with security policies. The support for iOS-managed apps allows the company to tie their corporate or compulsory apps to their MDM solution and to push them to the employee device. These apps, as well as any associated data, can be deleted directly from the admin console. In addition, if it a mobile device becomes non-compliant, the new release will alert IT, so the administrator can send messages to the user for minor violations . For more serious incidents, the administrator can configure a set of tasks, which will be applied automatically. Examples include corporate or full wipes as well as policy changes to avert any risk for corporate data.
“We have made considerable advancements in MDM over the past few months. Following our recent acquisition of DIALOGS, we have been able to aggressively improve the features within our complete mobile security  offerings, which have resonated with the market. We now count more than 1,500 Mobile Control customers using the solution to control and secure half a million devices—companies are saying ‘yes’ to BYOD without risking security and compliance,” said Matthias Pankert, vice president of Product Management, Mobile Data Protection, Sophos. “This rapid momentum in our mobile business is evidence that it is no longer enough for businesses to just control their own devices. They must now make sure that all devices, regardless of whether they are corporate or personal, are protected and secured and meet the corporation’s security standards.”
Sophos Mobile Control is available as a subscription license or as part of the Sophos Complete Security Suite , which combines endpoint, data, email, web, server and mobile protection in one license. Sophos plans further integration of its mobile products in future releases, for example, with the integration of Sophos Mobile Control into Sophos UTM  and reporting for both Sophos Mobile Security  and Sophos Mobile Encryption  in Sophos Mobile Control.