If you've been reading InformationWeek for the last year, you're probably aware that the bring your own device (BYOD) movement has made businesses very concerned about mobile phone security. Many companies advertise enterprise-oriented solutions, but VenomTek and OC Shield were at CES Unveiled to debut an app designed to protect consumers: DataGard.
"This gives you a full system protection by invoking a VPN," said VenomTek CEO Bryan Davies. He and Henry Massey, software product manager for OC Shield, stated that traditional VPNs, by virtue of being designed for static PCs, aren't equipped for the hustle and bustle usage of today's smartphones -- moving from Wi-Fi at a cafe to 3G on the street, having the 3G signal fade in and out as the user moves from one block to the next, etc. "[DataGard] was developed to work on mobile phones," said Massey, who mentioned that the project has been in development for two years. "Unlike traditional VPN solutions that don't work on mobile phones, this one does."
Massey explained that DataGard, which will cost $49.99 per year, applies 256-bit AES encryption while transferring content in a secure tunnel between the user device and the company's server. At the server level, he said, DataGard applies anti-phishing and antivirus precautions, while also providing data compression that allows a user to milk his or her monthly plan for up to 25% more data.
When asked about enterprise ambitions, Davies said that DataGard is targeting consumers first to "get the name out there" but that "we'll be taking it more business to business." When asked how the app differs from similar tunneling technology offered by companies such as Zenrpise and MobileIron, he stated that many companies claim to offer mobile-optimized VPNs but that "none of them offer the stability" built into his product. This is a bold claim, to be sure -- but DataGard's creators were confident enough to hand out one-month trial subscriptions during the Sunday night showcase, suggesting the product could be one to watch if its performance lives up to marketing claims.