Symantec buys Android email security tool maker

NitroDesk tools can secure and manage corporate data in bring-your-own-device workplaces

Symantec said Wednesday it closed a deal last week to acquire NitroDesk, which makes security and management applications for mobile devices.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Symantec was already partnering with NitroDesk and offered its TouchDown application as part of its App Center, which is Symantec's mobile application management and security product.

NitroDesk, a nine-person company based in Bellevue, Washington, will give Symantec a more complete offering for managing and securing mobile devices, said Travis Grandpre, director for mobility at Symantec.

Enterprises predominantly deploy iOS devices in North America, but Android, which is NitroDesk's strength, is the main platform in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and in the Asia-Pacific region, Grandpre said.

NitroDesk's Touchdown application for Android separates corporate data from personal data on a mobile device using a secure container, according to its website. That separation is important for enterprises that are letting their employees use their own devices for work. It ensures that data is not copied and pasted or moved to places where it shouldn't go, Grandpre said.

TouchDown also allows IT administrators to apply policies. For example, Grandpre said, if the antivirus software on a device is not up-to-date, the device can be barred from the corporate network. It also supports policies within Microsoft's Exchange server, information rights management and data loss protection policies, according to NitroDesk.

NitroDesk has a product for iOS called TouchDown Nudge. Apple, however, doesn't allow security applications to run on iOS, so Nudge has fewer features than the Android version. But it will separate corporate data from personal data, and it has a remote-wipe feature for lost devices, along with other management features.

NitroDesk sells its software through many other mobile security vendors, and those relationships will continue for now, Grandpre said. Symantec hasn't released a road map for what it will do with NitroDesk's products, although it expects to more tightly integrate them with Symantec's mobile security products, Grandpre said.

There will be no immediate changes for NitroDesk's current customers. Symantec plans for now to keep the same pricing for NitroDesk's products, which are charged per user. Touchdown will also remain available as part of Symantec's App Center. Eventually, TouchDown will be rebranded, Symantec said.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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