Lookout brings its enterprise mobile security to market

Lookout’s enterprise offering, which leverages the data set from its 70 million consumer customers, will be sold entirely through channel partners, and entirely through distribution, which in North America will be Ingram Micro.

David Cockerill 300

Aaron Cockerill, VP of Products at Lookout

San Francisco-based mobile security vendor Lookout, which has built up a base of 70 million users, mainly in the consumer market, has announced Lookout Mobile Threat Protection, its enterprise product.

“We have developed arguably the leading mobile security product in the consumer space, which has given us the world largest mobile code data set, and better knowledge of the mobile code environment than anybody else on the planet,” said Aaron Cockerill, VP of Products at Lookout.

Cockerill said the issue for enterprises today is not just that mobile threats have increased in number, sophistication and the platforms being attacked, but that the specific threats are increasingly of more concern to the enterprise. Consumer-focused malware that facilitates premium-rate SMS fraud isn’t a big concern to enterprises. Malware directly targeted to implement proxies on the phone, or root enablers that are well hidden, are.

This year, the enterprise malware situation has gotten worse because of the increased popularity of non-Google android devices.

“These have a different OS, and have a market because they are less expensive,” Cockerill stated. “But this year, these devices were beautiful with beautiful user experiences, often better than Google. When people buy them and bring them into the enterprises, they often have their own app ecosystem, and these may not have the same security as Google Play or the Apple Store. It’s a new avenue for malware.

“There are additional challenges in developing an enterprise security play,” Cockerill said. “Enterprise applications often bypass security mechanisms Google and Apple have in place for their app stores, which don’t go through their rigorous testing, and which opens a new avenue of attack as a result.” Enterprises also tend to do things like deploying MDM as a security tool, when it’s really for configuration and not security at all.

“The way enterprises keep devices suspected of jailbreaking or rooting from joining the corporate network is also flawed,” Cockerill added. “They ask a device if it’s jailbroken.”

Cockerill said all these issues mean a different approach to enterprise security is needed, and that’s what Lookout provides. Lookout uses a predictive security model, which tracks the relationships between code and uses machine intelligence for assessments.

“Lookout Mobile Threat Protection leverages our massive data set and machine intelligence to provide comprehensive mobile security,” Cockerill said. This includes advanced malware protection which predicts attacks before an app exhibits suspicious behavior. It also provides risky app management, sideloaded app detection (which provides visibility into apps that did not come from a recognized app store), and advanced root and jailbreak detection (which looks at suspicious devices from the cloud, rather than asking it about its status. Regular jailbreak detection from all major MDMs is easy to evade). Lookout Mobile Threat Protection also provides MDM integration and cross-platform protection.

“Most enterprise security tools in the past have not delighted the end user, and that has been an issue in adoption and success,” Cockerill added. “With 70 million consumer users, we believe we know how to do that.”

Cockerill indicated that they alert the end user as well as the console if malware is being installed, and they ask the end user to uninstall because they think an app is risky.

“With our consumer product, we found 95 per cent of users self-remediate and we expect this will go up in the enterprise,” he said. If they don’t self-remediate, the app moves to an untrusted state, and Lookout can take further measures, including shutting down the VPN or even wiping the device in certain circumstances.

Unusually for a new SaaS product, Lookout will be using VARs, and going exclusively through distribution from Day One.

David Helfer

David Helfer, Lookout’s Vice President of Worldwide Channel Development

“Lookout is SaaS and normally, what happens when a new SaaS offering comes out is people go direct,” said David Helfer, Lookout’s Vice President of Worldwide Channel Development. “We are different because with our consumer business, we have had a revenue stream for quite some time. This gives us the luxury to establish a go-to-market model and be very deliberate about our distribution strategy.”

That strategy involves putting one distributor in place for each global region. In North America, that will be Ingram Micro. The deal for the U.S. is signed. The deal for Canada is not signed yet, but Helfer said it is a simple rider.

“We want to go out the door with a crystal clear understanding of trust, and this is a very good model to establish it with distribution,” he said. “Many global integrators would like to buy from us directly, but there will be no such thing as a reseller or customer buying from Lookout directly. We wanted to put as many dollars as possible through distribution to get trust from them. That’s how we were able to sign distribution.”

Availability Lookout Mobile Threat Protection will be generally available in English on June 30. Localized versions in French, German and Japanese will be launching later this year.