BYOD Without Big Brother: Mobilisafe Debuts Real-Time Mobile Risk Management Solution

Seattle-based Mobilisafe, a mobile security startup backed by $1.2 million in funding from Madrona Venture GroupTrilogy Equity Partnership and T-Venture, is exiting its private beta program and launching publicly today. The company’s cloud-based Mobile Risk Management (MRM) solution aims to help companies deal with the ever-increasing number of personal devices on corporate networks, but takes things a step beyond existing mobile device management solutions. In addition to its real-time assessment capabilities, it’s also aggregating and mining the data it collects to help its system become more predictive over time.

Co-founded by former T-Mobile software architects Giri Sreenivas and Dirk Sigurdson in 2010, Mobilisafe has paying customers from its beta period, but is not disclosing specific numbers right now. However, some customers who have provided testimonials for the startup’s website include ApptioWildTangentWinShuttle, and Cascadia Capital. Sreenivas tells us that there’s a wide range of businesses using the current beta, from SME’s all the way up to enterprises with tens of thousands of employees, including customers in high-tech, finance, legal and healthcare. (Originally, Mobilisafe was targeting SMB’s, so its notable that it already has expanded to support enterprise customers.)

Asked to explain why Mobilisafe is unique, given the plethora of mobile device management solutions on the market, Sreenivas said it’s the real-time mobile vulnerability assessments that this solution offers – something that’s addressing a “particularly acute customer problem,” he says.

“We make risk very specific by identifying exactly which vulnerabilities are applicable to specific devices employees are using,” he explains, “and we make this actionable with remediation and mitigation steps like enforcing access controls and requiring firmware updates.” The intelligence the company collects is done without on device agents, and involves a quick setup (10-15 minutes, the company claims).

Sreenivas stresses, too, that current MDM (mobile device management) solutions fail to address the vulnerability risk issue. In April, the company released the results of a 4-month study of its SMB customers’ aggregate data, and found that  71% of devices in the study had “high severity” operating system and application vulnerabilities, and a new one was being mapped to mobile devices every 1.6 days, on average. That’s 4x faster than in 2011, the company found. 38 different OS versions in the study contained high severity vulnerabilities, too.

With Mobilisafe’s product, businesses with BYOD programs can determine if firmware updates are available and then message employees with instructions on how to download them, if so. It can also help identify stale devices (those that have stopped syncing with the system for 30+ days), as it alerts about employees using new devices in real-time. Plus it includes the usual management tools, like blocking and wiping devices.

The company currently supports Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory integration, and will soon be announcing support for cloud-based Exchange as well as other enterprise applications.

Mobilisafe is priced by active mobile user (employees who use mobile devices to access corporate data) and offers two plans. A month-to-month plan is $5/user/month and the annual plan is $4/user/month. There are no other differences in terms of support, service levels or capabilities between the two plans. A free trial is here.