3LM finally came out of its hiding place and launched its mobile enterprise system. 3LM was started by Tom Moss who was Google's Android team before spinning off 3LM, which, ironically, was acquired by Motorola, which was then acquired by Google.Earlier this week, much-anticipated Android security startup
Moss jokes that he has been demoted twice. "I work for a wholly-owned subsidiary of a wholly-owned subsidiary," Moss said to ReadWriteWeb at CTIA in San Diego yesterday. Moss's vision for enterprise mobility is more comprehensive and advanced than any other singular solution that can be found on the market.
BES For Android
If you are familiar with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, you are probably familiar with the first part of what 3LM is trying to do. It does not deviate much from the general goals of enterprise security programs to manage security and device management. The only difference between 3LM and its RIM counterparts is that it is a lot harder to lock down Android than it is BlackBerry.
"What is new and exciting about enterprise mobility is that it is really moving past telephony and email," Moss said. "That is essentially what enterprise mobility was -- making calls and sending work emails and maybe a couple calendar contacts that were just an extension of the email."
3LM provides Android devices with full encryption for device memory and the SD card. It can white list/blacklist applications access to corporate resources and provides both selective and full device remote-wiping capabilities. Do not want Facebook for Android sniffing at your corporate data on an employee's device? 3LM can provide that along with the ability to erase that corporate data from afar without actually touching the employees private apps. 3LM offer traditional device management where each device can provide its own virtual private network (VPN) and be tracked as a network endpoint.
To a certain extent, this is Mobile Device Management 101. It is not what excites Moss but it is what enterprises need as a starting point in mobile security. Yet, that is just the start of what 3LM is doing.
More Granularity: Mobile Application Management
If MDM is the outside-in approach, MAM is the inside-out approach. We have seen enterprise mobility move passed just the MDM solutions as the nature of mobile data has evolved. A system administrator can reach into a employee device and manage any application in almost any way that can be imagined. Be that setting permissions, disabling it or completely erasing it. We have seen MAM services before with companies like App47, but it looks like 3LM gives a much finer layer of control of how enterprise applications are managed in a corporate bring-your-own-device landscape.
"App management for us, instead of the object being the device that you are managing, the second object is that you manage individual apps," Moss said. "For example, I am an enterprise, I have a sales team, I want to make sure that all the sales guys have three corporate apps that we built ... in one setting I can push those apps overt the air. No user action necessary."
The Challenges Behind Android
Moss admits that the technical challenges behind instituting what 3LM does are not that daunting. The technical solutions exist with various MDM or BES solutions, but none have been able to tie the Android ecosystem together.
"iOS has a consistent story across devices. BlackBerry has a consistent story across devices. Android does not," Moss said. "So, even if an OEM makes a really secure one device or even three or four devices, they will be competing with IT and talk about this, that and the other thing. We are talking about 10 to 12 new Android devices every month. IT is not going to be able to keep up with that. They do not have the resources, especially in a BYOD environment, to look at every new device that is coming from every carrier every month."
That is what 3LM has done. The company has 12 Android original equipment manufacturer partners. Moss has convinced these 12 OEMs that it is in their best interest to have a single security vendor platform solution than it is to go it alone.
"It really stems more from policy than technology," Moss said. "What we needed to do was explain to our OEM partners that they would each individually sell more Android devices to the enterprise by coming together on a common security platform, which is 3LM, rather than if they were competing individually."
Samsung, the largest Android OEM in the ecosystem, is not a partner of 3LM. So far, Samsung is going it alone on the enterprise side with its partners in Cisco and Sybase. If Android really wants to unseat RIM and the iPhone in the enterprise market, it is going to need Samsung to be on board with a unified solution like 3LM.