SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Andrew Prokop
Andrew Prokop has been heavily involved in the world of communications since the early 1980s. He holds five United States...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Andrew Prokop | November 30, 2015 |

 
   

Securing from the App Level

Securing from the App Level A look at holistic mobile app security from Mocana.

A look at holistic mobile app security from Mocana.

I am not the kind of person who writes something simply to be controversial. While I have written a few articles for No Jitter that have caused some people to challenge my thoughts and opinions, I don't write them with the sole purpose of raising a ruckus. I write them because I truly believe in what I am saying.

An example can be found in my recent No Jitter article, The VPN is Dead, Long Live the SBC. While I had a number of people publicly and privately agree with me, some took objection to my line of reasoning. While some of those objections came from people in the VPN industry who believed strongly in their products, others came from VPN users who felt I was either wrong or at a minimum, premature in my conjectures. While no one disagreed that we all need to be vigilant about security, how we accomplished that was different for different people.

One of the most intriguing agreements came in the form of an email from the folks at Mocana. They invited me to hear how they were addressing security beyond VPNs. Always one to learn something new, I accepted their offer and spent a good hour speaking with them over the phone and several more reading through a care package of documents and product sheets. What I discovered was that there are quite a few ways to skin the enterprise protection cat that I hadn't considered.

In my VPN article, I discussed the difference between encrypting data sent and received from a device (e.g. an IPsec tunnel from an iPhone or Android mobile telephone) and encrypting the data from an application (e.g. TLS and SRTP from an iPhone SIP client). I expressly discussed how malicious traffic can ride an encrypted device tunnel all the way into an enterprise's internal network and how application-level security and an edge security device such as a session border controller prevented that from happening.

Mocana is in 100% agreement with that, but wants enterprises to take it one step further. Instead of simply securing the data stream that a mobile app sends and receives, it injects security policies into the binary code of the app itself. These policies could be that the app must use a secure data stream (including a pre-app VPN), but they can be so much more. For instance, policies can be defined that control how the app secures data on the mobile device along with different encryption levels that can be set for the data stream. Additionally, Mocana protects enterprises from jailbroken mobile devices and can be used to implement and enforce data loss prevention (DLP) solutions.

The Mocana Atlas Platform

Its solution is called the Mocana Atlas Platform, and it consists of three main components:

Mocana-Enabled Apps:

These are the previously mentioned mobile apps that have had their binaries stuffed full of enterprise security policies. The apps can be built by enterprises, third-party developers, or pulled from Mocana's list of certified apps including quite a few from companies such as SAP, Taptera, and OpenText.

Mobile App Protection (MAP):

This is the point-and-click tool an enterprise uses to define the security policies and associated parameters for an app. It then injects them directly into the binary code, and users can download the enhanced app to their mobile devices. Mocana claims that an app can be secured in less than six seconds.

Additionally, enterprises that develop their own apps have the option of natively building in X.509 certificate-based SSO (single sign-on) and other security measures with the Atlas Lighthouse SDK.

portable

Atlas Appliance:

The Atlas Appliance resides within an enterprise's security perimeter and is the entry point for Mocana-enabled apps. It ensures that only apps that adhere to the previously set security policies are allowed into the enterprise's network. The Atlas Appliance is highly scalable and supports hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections.

Putting it all together, we have the following picture. Notice the "firewalled" relationship between the mobile app, corporate network, and data resources. The Atlas Appliance brokers all connections into the network and enforces security policies set for the apps.

portable

For Example

There are a number of different use cases for Mocana, ranging from retail to transportation. Imagine airport mechanics accessing sensitive service information via a secured Mocana app on their tablets or account managers for a manufacturing company being prevented from sharing sensitive corporate data from their iPhones.

Digging a little deeper, I see huge opportunities for Mocana in the field of healthcare. The Mocana MAP process can require apps to protect confidential patient medical records with Data-at-Rest (DAR) FIPS 140-2 certified encryption. Additionally, MAP protects against unintentional data leakage through copy/paste protection and the use of app-level password and passphrase authentication.

As healthcare providers struggle to deal with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health), knowing that the apps they deploy meet those requirements gives them one less thing to worry about.

Beyond the App

Up until this point, I have emphasized mobile apps that you might find on an iPhone, iPad, or Samsung Galaxy. However, Mocana isn't limited to smart phones and tablets. As enterprises embrace and deploy Internet of Things (IoT) devices and solutions, the same concerns about security and data protection exist for these new and exciting devices.

Mocana can play a role here, too. Securing the software that runs on IoT devices ensures that rogue devices and potentially malicious activity is stopped at an enterprise's network edge. This allows companies to roll-out everything from IoT temperature gauges to scales without the fear of nasty people using them to do harm.

Mischief Managed

As BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) continues to be a major component of most enterprise's mobility strategies, security remains high on the list of concerns. As I have made perfectly clear, I am a big fan of securing applications and less so of securing devices. However, securing an application's signaling and media only solves one piece of the security puzzle. Mocana's approach of looking at apps in a holistic manner allows IT managers to feel confident that anything it allows access to their network adheres to even the strictest security requirements.

Andrew Prokop writes about all things unified communications on his popular blog, SIP Adventures.

Follow Andrew Prokop on Twitter and LinkedIn!
@ajprokop
Andrew Prokop on LinkedIn





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.