Only a week ago the importance of mobile applications within the enterprise got a lot of attention with the $1.5B acquisition of AirWatch by VMware. With every exit at the top end there are always new startups ready to replace them and the enterprise mobility space is no different. Today it’s the turn of Bitglass who are unveiling its own solution that is focused on securing corporate data on mobile devices and within cloud applications. Bitglass was founded only last year but has already attracted $10M in funding from NEA and Norwest Venture Partners.
Anyway, on to the solution. Unlike other mobile security solutions, Bitglas doesn’t require the installation of an agent onto an employee’s device. Indeed they don’t even need to track personal data. Deployment of Bitglass is zero-touch and the solution provides a number of different functional benefits:
- Cloud App Security – Bitglass works by applying a digital watermark on files. As files are downloaded, Bitglass’ reverse proxy applies the watermark, allowing the data to be tracked (and, yes, the tracking persists even when text from a document is copied and pasted)
- Mobile Security – Having the digital watermark means that when an employee loses a mobile device, the corporate data on that device can be deleted – again without the need for an installed mobile application or a heavy Mobile Data Management solution
- Bitglass is quick to deploy – there is no software to install and no changes need to be made to the device or the firewall. Once deployed, all data flows through Bitglass automatically
- Cloud Access Control – Bitglass provides access control across cloud apps, controlling the interaction of data
- Unified Identity – Bitglass provides SAML Single-Sign On into cloud apps, or integrates with existing identity solutions.
It’s actually a pretty interesting range of functionality and speaks to something of a convergence that seems to be going on – Bitglass covers functionality that would normally be delivered by a Single Sign On vendor (examples include Okta and OneLogin), MDM vendor (SAP Afaria, Citrix XenMobile or VMware AirWatch) and Cloud application analytics vendor (Skyhigh Networks, Netskope, Adallom) – it’s like a roll up of several different areas and indicates something of a trend towards broader solutions.
One company that sees value in that combination is AMAG Pharmaceuticals. The company chose Google Apps as the cloud-based office productivity solution but then discovered that there were problems when they combined the cloud applications with a BYOD polict – AMAG lost visibility and control over the data and opened themselves up to compliance issues. Nathan McBride, VP of IT at AMAG assessed other security solutions but felt that they weren’t applicable to cloud applications – add to that employee sensitive around IT monitoring personal applications and devices and there was a need for another solution. Bitglass was deployed to control the usage of cloud applications via usage policies that the company was able to tailor to the user, the device and the location.
The notion of low touch, easy deployment and robust data control is a compelling one. It’s early days for Bitglass but they’re certainly an interesting vendor to watch.