Security

Armor5 grabs $2M for its novel approach to the BYOD problem

A stealthy startup called Armor5 wants to alleviate fears about employees and remote workers bringing their own devices to work.

The Santa Clara, Calif., based Armor5 has a new way for mobile workers to access their company’s applications without sensitive data hitting their handset. The beta version is available for free as of today with a self-service sign up.

Chief executive Suresh Balasubramanian, a former general manager of antipiracy at Adobe, believes that BYOD (employees bringing their own devices to work) is a big problem for IT departments; they have “no choice but to deal with the issue,” he said. But it also raises “significant security, compliance and cost problems.”

You’ve been living under a rock if you’re not concerned about the security risks of BYOD. The topic was the center of discussions at the RSA Security conference, particularly given that the sophistication of attacks on corporate firewalls are increasing.

Balasubramanian told VentureBeat that competitors — including mobile device management and desktop virtualization (VDI) vendors — don’t address IT’s growing needs. MDM software used by an IT department to manage employee’s mobile devices is hard to administer, he explained, and VDI can’t deliver on all app functions.

A lot of companies have attempted to solve this problem by locking down certain apps or enabling IT to access specific parts of a personal device.

But Amor5′s approach is a bit different: The technology connects to a company network via an existing VPN, virtualizes Intranet data and cloud apps, and generates a URL for mobile workers to access content safely from a personal or company-issued device. The entire process takes just a few minutes.

Balasubramanian was brought on as CEO after the company incorporated in 2011. Its founders are former engineers from Microsoft, Adobe, and Motorola.

“CIOs are understandably concerned with data security given the rise of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices inside their organizations,” said Fred Wang, the general partner at Trinity Ventures, the firm that led the seed round.  “Its [Armor5's] singular focus on the intersection of data security and BYOD, and its unique approach to solving the problem, is the reason we are investing.”

The startup has emerged from stealth mode today with $2 million in funding from Trinity Ventures, Citrix, and Nexus Venture Partners.