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Monday, October 10, 2011

Ex-Googlers Bake Enterprise Security Into Android

Tom Moss and Gaurav Mathur left Google’s Android team because the wildly popular mobile operating system needed better security. Google had pushed the security burden onto third parties, they say, and the third parties weren’t up to snuff.

“We were tired of seeing these bad solutions,” Moss told Wired. “Everyone else is working on applications. But we’re working at the platform level.”

The pair parted ways with Google in early 2010, and today their new company, 3LM, comes out of stealth mode, offering an enterprise security suite for Android that hooks straight into the OS. Adding security and monitoring at the operating system level, Moss says, will give IT managers a much better handle on corporate Android devices, letting them, say, remotely blacklist application or turn off a phone’s camera.

At least one Android manufacturer agrees. As 3LM exits stealth mode, it has already been acquired. Late last year, it began talking to about a dozen OEMs — from HTC to Sony Ericsson — about requirements and specs for its tools, and eventually, Motorola Mobility actually bought the company for an undisclosed amount.

3LM enters the light of day with a number of partnerships in place or in the works. According to Moss, roughly a dozen OEMs are integrating 3LM into their latest code and will make it available with maintenance updates for existing devices. BoxTone and a few other not-yet-announced mobile device managers will provide IT consoles and serve as channel partners. 3LM expects four major name-brand customers to ink deals soon — and many more are running trials.

Besides actually building the thing, Moss says that one of the company’s biggest challenges was coming up with a name. They wanted something that mentioned Android, but every URL they wanted was taken. Finally, they settled on a nod to Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Their company became the Three Laws of Mobility, or 3LM.


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