Government // Enterprise Architecture
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3/26/2013
06:06 PM
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MobilEcho Secures Corporate Docs For iOS Users

Acronis file management tool now works with MobileIron AppConnect to lock down and improve access to corporate files for remote workers.

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As more employees use smartphones and tablets to do work offsite, many companies are faced with figuring out how to keep corporate documents secure. Acronis announced Tuesday that its MobilEcho file management tool is now capable of offering an extra layer of security -- beyond mobile device management -- to companies that use MobileIron AppConnect software to manage their iOS devices.

MobilEcho offers about 50 configurable parameters that IT policy setters can use to control exactly what end users can do with the files they are allowed to retrieve from their company's centrally located file servers, SharePoint servers and NAS devices, said Acronis product management director Brian Ulmer. "In terms of file access itself, we integrate with Microsoft's ActiveDirectory," said Ulmer. MobilEcho, which consists of a Windows Server-based server and a free iOS app, inherits whatever file access rights are granted to end users through ActiveDirectory.

Most of MobilEcho's features can be set via the app's management console, said Ulmer. For example, users can be allowed to view Microsoft Office and PDF-formatted documents and annotate PDF documents. Another feature lets users email the documents they have access to. The MobilEcho administrator can disable email capability for some or all users.

[ How does the government handle BYOD? Read Feds Pursue Uniform Approach To Device Management. ]

Through MobilEcho, admins can allow uni- or bi-directional file syncing. Users check off which files they might need offline access to, and whenever new versions of those files are centrally saved, they are automatically "echoed" to the local storage on the users' iOS devices. This feature could come in handy for large mobile sales forces that need their companies' latest product updates. For extra security, MobilEcho can encrypt data both at rest and in transit.

The MobilEcho user interface resembles a directory in a desktop operating system like Windows or Mac.

Some of MobileIron's application management capabilities are capable of passing through to the MobilEcho app, said Ulmer. For example, if a company does not want to allow mobile applications to send email, that policy can be applied via MobileIron's AppConnect and it will be reflected in MobilEcho settings.

For apps like MobilEcho that need secure, behind-the-firewall access to network-based resources, MobileIron sets up a secure tunnel that obviates the need for a separate VPN. MobilEcho uses this tunnel for file access and synchronization.

Although Acronis offers an Android version of MobilEcho in the Google Play store, it doesn't integrate with MobileIron the way the iOS MobilEcho app does. Acronis is planning to upgrade the Android app with that integration capability in an upcoming release.

MobilEcho is available on perpetual license or subscription terms. A subscription for 500 users costs about $50 per user per year.

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