Armor5, a cloud-based platform looking to tackle the pain point of secure mobile access to enterprise data, announced today that it has raised $2 million in seed funding from Citrix Systems, Nexus Venture Partners, and Trinity Ventures. With the trend of bring your own device (BYOD) on the rise, the company’s technology gives mobile workers the ability to connect to their company’s network on any device through a secure URL.
Founded by a team comprised of security experts from Adobe, Motorola, and Yahoo!, the company aims to bring what it calls “zero-touch” deployment to BYOD security, which essentially means that enterprises can be up and running with Armor5 without any extensive involvement from their IT department, and without any of their intranet data or enterprise cloud applications ever being downloaded to their employees’ physical devices.
“The genesis for this really was looking at this whole space of enterprise mobility security compliance. The seed was that there’s got to be a better way to solve these problems that the CIOs are facing today as opposed to what’s in the market in terms of this whole device management concept, which is essentially just a rehash of how we used to do laptop management eight years back,” said CEO Suresh Balasubramanian in an interview with BetaKit.
Rooted in the idea that the traditional approach to BYOD security in the form of individual mobile device management is an outdated version of older technology that companies used to manage employee laptops, the company says it’s solving a costly problem, citing a survey conducted by the Aberdeen Group which notes that enterprises spend upwards of $20 on security per device each year. Breaking away from that notion, Armor5 instead connects to its users’ networks via their VPN to virtualize an enterprises’s intranet data and cloud applications, which it then can enable access to by generating and distributing a secure URL. Employees would simply open up their devices, enter the URL, and login as they would at work, with no data cached or downloaded to their devices, to access the necessary files.
The company also offers the ability to disable downloading, forwarding, and printing, and allows IT departments to monitor, analyze, audit and manage end-user activity to ensure BYOD policies and compliance standards are met. Though the startup is still testing its exact pricing, Balasubramanian said Armor5’s services would be subscription-based akin to Salesforce where enterprises would pay a monthly fee for each user.
The BYOD trend continues to garner much attention both from established companies like Samsung, which recently launched its own security offering Knox to manage Android devices, and BlackBerry with its latest Balance functionality, all the way to several startups with their own take on the issue. Stealth startup Tomfoolery just recently raised $1.7 million to develop its BYOD collaboration product, while in the past BetaKit has covered bigtincan, Openera, and CloudOn who are also looking to help employees stay secure while using their own mobile and tablet devices.
Armor5’s take on the matter is that companies will need to rethink their approach, going from individual device management or asking their workers to change their behavior to cloud infrastructure to automate the process. “The CIOs are really faced with a tough choice, they want to enable users for productivity, at the same time they have to maintain security compliance with their data. There’s a boatload of vendors solving this problem with a device management approach,” Balasubramanian added. “In this new world of mobile, BYOD especially, and data just everywhere, the right way to do this is a cloud-based solution that makes it dead simple for the end-user to get their work done.”
The company is currently offering a free public beta version of its service while gearing up for an official launch in April. The seed funding will be put towards scaling its offering, with the startup looking to raise a Series A round later this fall. With BYOD security on the mind of CIOs across the board, Armor5’s plug-and-play approach could see some major interest, however, it will have to prove that a cloud-based approach can be just as secure as custom IT solutions.