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Security Readers' Choice Awards 2014: Mobile data security products

Readers vote on the best mobile data security products of 2014.

With all the options for mobile security, enterprises still face untold challenges when it comes to investing in the best technology to create secure, managed environments. The contenders in this year's Mobile Data Security category made up a formidable field of widespread technologies. Products in this category ranged from mobile access and platform-specific security to mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management and antimalware tools. As organizations strive to protect sensitive enterprise data accessed by their mobile workforce, the technology choices can seem overwhelming.

This is an area where there was a larger-than-average spread of products, ranging from fairly narrowly focused products along the lines of AVG's Mobilation (which got very respectable ratings), to basic tool sets with good value for the money (Dell's Enterprise Mobility Management seemed to fall into this profile), to products and names that have tended to dominate this space, such as AirWatch (acquired by VMware) and BlackBerry.

Winner: XenMobile, Citrix Systems Inc.

Following its 2013 acquisition of Zenprise, Citrix has stepped up to the plate in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) in a big way, providing both cloud and on-premises versions of what's now known as XenMobile.

XenMobile delivers MDM with role-based management, configuration, security and support for corporate and bring your own devices. Using a centralized "Worx" framework, users can self-enroll their devices, enabling IT to provision policies and apps to those devices automatically, blacklist or whitelist apps, detect and protect against jailbroken devices, troubleshoot device and app issues, and wipe or selectively wipe a device. In total, some 60 different mobile device policies, ranging from app access to data leak prevention, can be enforced.

XenMobile, Citrix Systems Inc.
From a user perspective, Citrix XenMobile presents an environment called Worx, where both the available apps and the data stored by them are secured and administered from an IT console.

Unlike some other mobile offerings, Citrix delivers a full set of Worx-specific apps for iOS and Android, creating controlled mobile access for email and Web browsing, along with integration to Citrix ShareFile, which allows employees to access, sync and securely share files.

Finally, there's a developer software development kit so that organizations can tie their own internal apps into the Worx framework.

Winner: MobileIron EMM, MobileIron

These days, MobileIron thinks about EMM as one of the solution sets that emerges from its overall MobileIron Platform, an architecture comprising MobileIron Core, MobileIron Sentry, MobileIron Client and a slew of end-user products.

For IT departments, the center point, as the name suggests, is MobileIron Core, which serves as a policy hub, integrated on the back end to existing IT services; on the front end, it spells out the rules of the road for MDM, mobile application management and mobile content management.

Enforcement at the mobile endpoint comes via MobileIron Client, which appears to end users as an environment called Mobile@Work. End users download the app and it automatically configures the device to function in an enterprise environment by enforcing the configuration and security policies set by the IT department. A secure MobileIron container protects enterprise data and applications.

MobileIron EMM, MobileIron
With MobileIron, you not only get security for mobile devices, you can use a mobile dashboard to monitor those devices.

The other key component of the MobileIron Platform is MobileIron Sentry, an in-line gateway that manages, encrypts and secures traffic between the mobile device and back-end enterprise systems. As you'd expect, Sentry enforces the security policies set by IT in MobileIron Core, enabling it to allow or deny access to corporate information and resources in real time. Because it sits in the middle and has encryption capabilities, one useful feature of Sentry is that it can encrypt email attachments. Because Mobile@Work controls the endpoint's interaction with the file in both encrypted and plaintext formats, it can enforce rules that prevent access to the files by unauthorized apps and ensure that any copies of the attachment -- copied, for example, to a cloud file storage site -- will be encrypted and unavailable to unauthorized users.

Readers called out this flexibility and granularity policy enforcement for high marks; MobileIron also got the highest marks in the overall field for its central management capabilities.

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This was last published in November 2014

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