Blue Cedar Networks – which was spun out of Mocana back in April 2016 – revealed today strong financial backing for the company and its Atlas enterprise mobile security platform. That is excellent news.
I’m a big fan of the “Mocana way” of delivering top-down enterprise mobile security and highly secure mobile connectivity, enough so that last year I designated the platform as Blue Hill Research’s enterprise mobile security benchmark against which all mobile security platforms need to be assessed. I put all of my thoughts and reasoning on it together in several research reports; this is a good starting point: Mocana Atlas Sets the Stage for Advanced Enterprise Mobile Security.
The spinout of Blue Cedar out of Mocana was a great move – it provides Blue Cedar with a unique identity for its still benchmark-level Atlas mobile security platform and allows the new company to fully step out from the dark shadows of EMM, something the company struggled with under the Mocana moniker. The reality is that EMM is a monster that is not going to go away anytime soon – any company with huge and multi-year investments in EMM platforms may understand that Blue Cedar’s platform can in many cases simply eliminate the need for EMM, but let’s face it – no enterprise is going to do so.
EMM – primarily in the guise of mobile device management (MDM) – currently manages in the neighborhood of 250 million mobile devices. It provides cover – or a security blanket of sorts – for most enterprise BYOD and corporate-liable mobile ecosystems. As much as the smart move may be (and in my opinion “is”) to move enterprise mobile security to Blue Cedar’s Atlas, such a move faces far too many entrenched EMM investments (not to mention inertia – things at rest tend to stay at rest and let’s face it, nothing appeals to IT more than inertia).
Rather than fight the internal corporate EMM/mobile device fight, Blue Cedar has now positioned the Atlas platform to solve an even thornier enterprise problem – highly securing both apps and data on mobile devices that fall outside the reach, control, and management of enterprise EMM platforms. Partners, contractors, and external temporary workforces – spanning local, regional, national and global environments, consultants and a host of others that require access to enterprises’ internal data systems either permanently or temporarily through their iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets (we’ll include emerging Windows 10 hybrid PCs here as well) – now form what we collectively refer to as the “extended enterprise.”
The extended enterprise has no real boundaries. Current estimates suggest that it consists of roughly 350 million (and growing) devices that are not and cannot be “managed or secured” by enterprises. This is the key problem that EMM cannot solve, and this, in turn, ends up as the major roadblock for inertia-loving IT departments to deliver on the extended enterprise. But there is a truly simple solution to this conundrum …
The Enterprise Application IS the Security Endpoint
The “mobile security reality” is that mobile devices do not ever need to actually be managed to fully ensure extremely high levels of application and data security. Fully secure the application (mobile or otherwise) and access to data and EMM-based device security becomes irrelevant. Certificate-based and biometric authentication, FIPS-certified data encryption and secure multi-protocol connectivity are among the many capabilities the platform delivers on to do so. Technology aside, total user security transparency and the same exact “tap & go” user experience I highlighted in my research papers is key to its use.
Yes, yes, many – ok most – enterprises really and truly want to control their internal devices and don’t feel comfortable without a device agent sitting on the device, and that is fine. Tightly securing the app and data endpoints, however, is fully compatible with and entirely complimentary to any EMM platform while casting and “extending” its mobile security net far beyond EMM’s device reach (think of it as boldly going where no inertia-bound IT has gone before). This is what chief information security officers want and need to hear.
How and why Atlas delivers on tight enterprise endpoint security and secure connectivity is based on the “Atlas appliance” and is detailed in my research papers. This isn’t something I’ll rehash here. I will say, however, that since last year Blue Cedar has expanded its capabilities by adding the ability to deliver access to the Atlas appliance hardware and platform through both internal infrastructure access (as originally implemented) as well as through a new SaaS cloud-based model, which greatly increases deployment flexibility.
I leave it today as a reader exercise to imagine the huge variety of extended enterprise applications that open up to any business through deploying Atlas. Think in terms of competitive advantages on both the tactical and strategic level. And do share with us your thoughts on this in the comments section!
I happen to have a new Blue Cedar research paper coming out in a week or so that details the many use cases that define the extended enterprise – it will be interesting to see how they match up with your own ideas. The research is based on current Blue Cedar deployments but it merely offers the tip of the extended enterprise iceberg.
Atlas already secures over one million mobile app endpoints, but to date the one thing that has been missing from the Blue Cedar picture is a solid sense and proof of the company’s ability to continue to deliver innovation and platform technology advances and proof it can survive and morph from what is essentially a startup at this point – regardless of its long-standing Mocana roots and 150+ customers in hand – into a highly sustainable business securing many, many millions of extended enterprise data endpoints. Today that proof arrived.
A Powerful Investment Portfolio
A number of blue chip investors have joined forces to deliver a $10 million dollar Series A round of funding for Blue Cedar. This level of investment for a company that currently employs in the neighborhood of 40 employees is a solid first step for building forward-driving momentum on both the sales and technology fronts. The investors are as follows:
- Accelerate IT Ventures (AITV)
- Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV)
- Grayhawk Capital
- Generation Ventures
Anik Bose, General Partner at Benhamou Global Ventures, Brian Nugent of AITV (which is also an investor in Mocana) and Sherman Chu of Grayhawk Capital all join the Blue Cedar board as part of this Series A round. The Blue Cedar management team is led by the same talented “cast of characters” (it’s the only way to describe them!) I’ve gotten to know from their Mocana days, led by CEO John Aisien (a fellow New York University alumni member), CTO Kevin Fox, and CMO Ranjeet Vidwans, among others.
Here’s some trivia – how does one get from Mocana to “Blue Cedar” exactly? Well, the Atlas technology team is based in Boston on a road called Cedar Hill. It turns out there is also a quite regal cedar tree known as the Blue Cedar which is also known as … the Atlas Cedar, hence Blue Cedar. You can’t make this stuff up.
Let me wrap up this blog post with a prediction.
As more and more enterprises begin to take full advantage of Blue Cedar’s Atlas platform to build out extensive extended enterprise platforms through highly securing enterprise application endpoints, they will all eventually come to the realization that they no longer need to secure their internal devices any more than they need to secure extended enterprise devices through EMM/MDM. In my original Atlas research papers, I defined the next-generation model for enterprise mobile security – and in fact for all enterprise security, mobile or otherwise – as being driven through the application endpoint security model.
I’m right; I always am … stay tuned and let’s compare notes in 12 months!