Mobile Data Startup Raises $9 Million

MobileIron's enterprise mobility platform offers a window on employees' smartphone use to increase security and cut costs.
Startup MobileIron came out of stealth mode Thursday, and the mobile technology company is attempting to capitalize on the growing number of companies using smartphones.

The company has raised $9 million in venture funding, and it wants to provide businesses with specialized data in order to increase smartphone security and potentially cut costs. The company's Virtual Smartphone Platform is a device-agnostic tool that runs in the background of the device, and it relays usage information to an application behind the corporate firewall.

This real-time data can provide valuable insight into how employees are using their handsets and allow businesses to exert more control over the smartphones, MobileIron said. Instead of pre-approving smartphones for employees and handling the cost overruns afterwards, a company could monitor employees and alert IT departments when they surpass certain thresholds.

This data can also be used by companies to determine how to efficiently allocate resources for their enterprise mobility strategies. For example, MobileIron's platform could determine if a company's wireless carrier frequently drops or misses calls, and then make changes accordingly.

"There is tremendous pressure on IT to keep up with user demand while containing costs," said Bob Tinker, CEO of MobileIron, in a statement. "MobileIron's innovative platform gives CIOs the confidence to say 'yes' to mobility without sacrificing either data security or their expense line."

The company said there is a growing need for this kind of service because employees are increasingly using their own smartphones to access corporate data. While most carriers offer some form of data and voice metrics for enterprise customers, MobileIron said these portals are often limited.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).

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