Nokia expands enterprise, security offerings

Interview: VP of Nokia's Enterprise Solutions division discusses the company's plans for E Series phones and Intellisync Mobile Suite

Nokia, the world's largest handset maker, is well known for its consumer devices but maintains a range of enterprise products. Mary McDowell is executive vice president and general manager of Nokia's Enterprise Solutions, a division that deals with products from the E Series phones to security appliances to software such as the Intellisync Mobile Suite, designed to manage a fleet of enterprise devices. She spoke with IDG News Service about Nokia's direction in several enterprise areas. The following is an edited transcript.

IDG News Service: Where are the sources of growth for Enterprise Solutions?

McDowell: We had growth in both our devices and in our software business. We did not have growth in the security business. That's been relatively flat given the state of the perimeter security market.

IDGNS: Nokia has a lot of partners for mobile security products but as of yet no stand-alone security product. Are there plans to release one?

McDowell: We are going to be releasing in the fourth quarter a mobile VPN client. We did have one in the past but it only worked with Nokia appliances ... but this will be a stand-alone VPN client that can be downloaded from the Nokia [Web] site to a Series 60 device.

IDGNS: You mentioned that security is the first or second question that comes up from IT managers when discussing mobile devices. What do you tell those IT managers who are nervous that their company could be the next source for a data breach caused by a mobile device?

McDowell: Certainly that comes up in the discussion around the deployment of mobile technology. Then we would discuss the various options. Do you want security that's going to be embedded in specific applications? If you're looking at multiple applications across a heterogenous device base, device management is a logical conversation to have. Are you going to be doing more browser-based apps? It kind of depends on the specific architecture of what they are going to mobilize.

IDGNS: The firewall/VPN area is crowded with lots of vendors and lots of products. How is Nokia competing, and can you detail more on Nokia's partnership with Intel?

McDowell: Our strategy has been to have a combination of very good performance for application processing, which got a lot stronger this year with the rollout of multiprocessing, multicore platforms and to complement that with very fast network processing. This week or next week we will have a new release of our IPSO operating system to support multiprocessing and then an advanced processing card, which should be shipping in the fourth quarter. So a pretty major product overhaul.

We had been constrained in the past ... by not having the multiprocessing capability in IPSO. And so once we made the decision to make that investment in refreshing the underlying BSD kernel to support multiprocessing, that opened up the possibility to work more closely with the embedded side of Intel and get access to some of their earlier technology to incorporate into our appliances. Prior to that, we were a little bit downstream of some for their latest advances, but now we have a lot more visibility into their road map.

IDGNS: Nokia is pushing to enterprises the advantages of "converged" services -- combining the use of Wi-Fi for VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) and fixed phone network integration. But the cost of data plans for mobiles remains a concern for IT managers. What sort of conversations has Nokia had with operators on that issue?

McDowell: I think what you are seeing there are different packages available around various software programs but there's very few "all applications, all you can eat" plans for a set price. So typically you have a price associated with a BlackBerry contract or an Intellisync contract but then any other data applications are going to be based on throughput. One of the things we have been working on a lot in the Intellisync software is reducing the network traffic the software generates so that the operators can be more confident in putting together the right package.

IDGNS: When will that compression technology be wrapped into the Intellisync Mobile Suite server?

McDowell: This year.

IDGNS: Are there any other improvements on the horizon for Intellisync?

McDowell: Over the summer, we enhanced the device management capabilities, primarily starting with the Windows clients in the device management offering. There's better management of the device lock-and-wipe capabilities and the ability to turn on and off the camera in a device. Cameras have been one of the things that have been a point of interest in enterprises. Do you include them or not? But with so much crossover into end-user personal use, we're seeing there is a demand for cameras but then enterprises need to be able to turn them off.

Also, more remote control of Windows Mobile devices, so that a network administrator can wirelessly take control of a device and visually see the screen for troubleshooting. We will in a subsequent release have that capability for Symbian clients as well.

IDGNS: Why would the Windows release of that come before the Symbian one?

McDowell: Some of it is because of the state of the software when we acquired Intellisync. They had much richer capabilities on Windows, so we've been building up the Symbian space.

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