Ina Fried

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Mobile Security Firm Lookout Partners With Samsung, Plans to Attack Corporate Market Later This Year

After spending its first two years trying to keep consumer phones secure, Lookout is taking aim at the corporate market.

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The San Francisco startup, which focuses on securing mobile devices, is announcing plans on Wednesday to offer its first enterprise product — Lookout For Business — later this year. Lookout also said that its software will become part of Samsung’s Knox program for securing Android devices.

Lookout isn’t giving many details about the business product, but said it will work on both iOS and Android, has been in the works for about a year, and comes in response to companies approaching Lookout to see if they could license the software in bulk.

“I think it is a very strong first step in allowing businesses to keep their devices safe,” Lookout CTO Kevin Mahaffey said in an interview.

One of the key things, Mahaffey said, is offering security in a way that “doesn’t suck.” Too much corporate security software, he said, works by limiting access to popular applications, restricting browser use, and other onerous limitations.

“It goes without saying that on mobile devices that doesn’t work,” he said.

While the business market is an important and lucrative part of the market, Mahaffey noted that Lookout’s approach necessitated starting with consumers, as its model relies on being installed on a wide range of devices to notice threats as they crop up.

“If we were a biz-only (firm), we would never have enough data,” he said.

By relying on consumers — as well as direct deals with cellular operators — the company has grown to 45 million users.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik