Sybase: Encrypting Windows Mobile Data

Sybase releases new version of Afaria, an encryption component for Windows Mobile devices.

One of the biggest risks enterprises face in rolling out PDAs and smart phones is data getting into the wrong hands if a device is lost or stolen. This month Sybase Inc.'s iAnywhere business unit is rolling out software it says will help corporate developers address that threat.

A new version of Afaria, the security component of Sybase's Information Anywhere mobile-management middleware suite, can encrypt and decrypt data for devices running Windows Mobile without degradation in performance, says Shari Freeman, director of product management.

The product is interoperable with various device and software components, which should ease the process of programming encryption into apps that run on Windows Mobile devices, Freeman says.

"One problem that enterprises and developers have had in the past is making sure that their encryption technology was interoperating correctly with their applications," she says. With the encryption component, Freeman says Afaria can run in the background without locking a device while an application is running. As a result, it also has the benefit of improving battery life, Freeman says.

Enterprises Slow to Adopt
Getting enterprises to address the need for encryption on mobile devices is a major challenge, says Jack Gold, president and principal analyst of Northborough, Mass.-based J. Gold Associates LLC. He estimates that less than 25 percent of enterprises are adequately protecting corporate data that may be on these devices.

"It's getting better, but it's not advancing nearly as quickly as it should," Gold says.

In addition to the threat of running afoul of various regulations in certain industries, many devices that now have large storage capabilities can store a significant amount of data that could put an enterprise competitively at risk.

The Sybase iAnywhere suite is widely used by enterprises that are running Windows Mobile, which is emerging as the fastest growing enterprise mobile platform, according to Gold. The new Afaria component is particularly suited for file-level encryption, he says. Competitors in the encryption space include Credant Technologies Inc., Check Point's Pointsec Mobile Technologies and Trust Digital, Gold notes.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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