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F5 Networks Unveils BYOD Solution to Help Separate Work From Play

F5 Networks on Tuesday announced a new solution for mobile application management to help organizations support enterprise BYOD initiatives, while giving employees more control over their personal data.

Dubbed F5 Mobile App Manager, the hybrid cloud solution will help enterprises extend corporate applications and data to employees’ personal mobile devices while leaving personal content under the control of the device owner, the company said.

F5 LogoThe solution is different than most traditional Mobile Device Management (MDM) offerings, F5 said, in that it securely connects only corporate applications to the enterprise network, and it manages only the enterprise content and applications on a device rather than the entire device itself.

Taking this approach lets employees separate their personal data from corporate data on their devices, yet gives them the convenience of using their own mobile devices for both work and personal use.

Set to be available this summer for both Apple’s iOS and Google Android, the solution provides PIN-protected and encrypted enterprise applications, including corporate email, a secure web browser, and an F5 App Store from which corporate applications and content can be securely downloaded.

“As more employees want to use personal devices in the workplace, enterprise IT has had to make tough choices: support BYOD initiatives despite having limited security controls, impose complete control over employees’ personal devices using MDM solutions, or reject BYOD initiatives altogether,” Mark Vondemkamp, VP of Security Product Management and Marketing at F5 said in a statement. “F5 Mobile App Manager enables IT to make intelligent BYOD choices that benefit both the company and employees; it gives IT the control and flexibility it needs to protect corporate resources without restricting an employee’s use of the device or infringing on their privacy.”

As a hybrid cloud offering, F5 Mobile App Manager opens up new opportunities for enterprises that have not yet embraced BYOD, enabling them to do so without incurring the expense of deploying and managing yet another solution in their own data centers, the company said.

F5 Mobile App Manager complements F5’s existing unified access solutions, which provide secure, accelerated remote access and identity federation for SaaS applications, the company said.

On the administrative side, IT can manage individual devices or device groups, push and/or retract applications and data on a device, and lock or wipe only the secure workspace rather than the entire device.

Using an “App Wrapper” feature built into F5 Mobile App Manager, IT teams can secure internally developed and third-party applications and make them available to employees on mobile devices.

Additionally, because F5 Mobile App Manager is a hybrid cloud solution, IT avoids costly hardware and infrastructure investments and saves time by managing and securing enterprise content only rather than entire devices. In addition, organizations that have been using MDM solutions reduce their VPN costs by handling only enterprise-related traffic rather than all mobile traffic.

Channel partners and carrier service providers (CSPs) can benefit from F5 Mobile App Manager as well, F5 said, as the solution can be added to customers’ existing BIG-IP APM deployments with no additional infrastructure changes or on-site installation neeed. F5 Mobile App Manager can also be resold as a value-added enterprise managed service.

F5 said that it's Mobile App Manager SaaS offering will be available in June 2013. 

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.