movianCrypt: A tighter grip on handheld data

By Ana Orubeondo, InfoWorld |  Operating Systems

As mobile workers rely more and more on handheld devices for access to the corporate back end, the fear among IS managers of losing control over corporate data should be shifting to panic. If the handheld device of a sales representative or executive was lost or stolen, who knows where sensitive company information could end up?

The simplest way to secure traveling corporate data is to encrypt it. For data on Palm Inc. and Handspring Inc. devices running Palm OS 3.0 or higher, Certicom Corp.'s movianCrypt could be the answer to the handheld security problem of companies that are heavily invested in Palm OS devices.

Most encryption products currently available for handheld devices require users to manually encrypt the data or follow a scripted procedure when shutting down the device. The problem with these methods is that hurried users often forget or neglect to take these extra steps, and the data ends up being stored unencrypted.

Certicom's movianCrypt solves this problem by decrypting and re-encrypting data automatically as individual files are opened and closed. IS managers can rest easy knowing that the security of corporate data doesn't depend on handheld users remembering to take steps to protect it.

movianCrypt goes beyond solutions such as LockMe, which provides only enhanced password protection of files but does not encrypt them. It also surpasses many competing encryption products, such as Secret, PointSec, and PointSafe, which encrypt only their own proprietary applications, such as their address book, leaving the data in other applications on the handheld unsecured.

Using 128-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, movianCrypt protects the data in all third-party Palm applications that follow the Palm programming convention, as well as data in the built-in Address Book and Memo Pad applets. The software also encrypts application preferences and contents in the clipboard.

The biggest potential weakness in the movianCrypt approach is that users can opt to disable encryption for specific applications. But as long as users play by the rules, data on handhelds will be protected.

Companies interested in movianCrypt can purchase and download the product from Certicom's Web site. You can use either a Windows or Macintosh machine to install the software on a Palm device and to synchronize Palm data with HotSync-enabled products such as Microsoft Outlook, AvantGo Desktop, and Cutting Edge Software's Quickoffice. movianCrypt also works with Certicom's movianVPN, which enables enterprises to provide mobile workers with secure access to the corporate Internet from their wireless devices.

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