Cellrox and Columbia University Partner on Mobile Security

By Tony Rizzo — February 21, 2012

Cellrox Ltd., a startup focused on using mobile device virtualization to drive BYOD security in the enterprise workforce, has announced the signing of a worldwide exclusive agreement with Columbia University to license certain mobile technology developed at Columbia that enables corporate IT departments to securely accommodate BYOD in the enterprise workforce.
Using virtualization technology developed at Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, Cellrox addresses the challenges of BYOD through its ThinVisor technology platform, which allows both corporate and personal individual "personas" to co-exist on a single smartphone. Employees have secure access to data and applications necessary for their jobs, while reducing security and compliance risks for corporate networks.
The technology can make it significantly easier for businesses to implement user-liable mobile device policies, as well as eliminating the need for employees to carry two smartphones. SAP Labs in currently testing ThinVisor for SAP applications running on Android devices.
Both businesses and their workforces can ensure that personal data and corporate applications and associated sensitive corporate data are kept entirely separate. The technology creates an essentially impenetrable virtual wall between an employee’s applications and a company’s data and applications, offering enterprises proactive security and application transparency. Android-based devices are the first candidates for the technology, with Windows Phone 7 also a possibility for deployments.
"Smartphones are now more powerful and popular than ever in business," notes Calvin Chu, senior technology licensing officer for Columbia Technology Ventures, the technology transfer office of Columbia University. "We’re excited to see Cellrox put Columbia University virtualization technology towards solving the problems of enterprise compliance, security and maintenance." Cellrox has ties to Columbia through its co-founders, Oren Laadan, PhD and Ranit Fink, who are both alumni of Columbia's Department of Computer Science.
Lightweight virtualization makes it possible to securely run multiple virtual phones on a single smartphone in a manner that is transparent to applications. It is important to note as well that device performance in never compromised. Each virtual phone can, for example, run any of the applications from Android Market, including 3D graphics-intensive games, with no visible performance difference from native hardware.
The idea of using virtualization on smartphones to create entirely separate business and end user virtual phones isn't new, and other vendors have been working on the approach. See for example, "Red Bend - Virtualization as the Road to Mobile Security," for additional insights.


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