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Wireless data encryption due for handhelds

August 3, 1999
Web posted at: 3:19 p.m. EDT (1919 GMT)

by Ephraim Schwartz

From...
InfoWorld

(IDG) -- Handheld devices will get a boost in security this week when Puma Technology announces that it will license Certicom's Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology for its Intellisync synchronization products.

Corporate users of messaging, calendaring, and contact databases on both Palm and Windows CE
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handheld devices now will be able to synchronize over any wireless network with so-called strong data encryption. The next version of Intellisync Anywhere, due to ship later this year, will include the Certicom security software.

The ability to prevent the interception of data is a step toward adoption of handheld devices in the enterprise, but more is still needed, according to IT consultants and industry analysts.

"The lack of security never kept handhelds from being officially supported devices," said Travis Hoxmeir, a consultant at Akila, a Portland, Ore., company that helped the Pacific Gas and Electric Gas Transmission agency to deploy a handheld strategy. "Within IT, security is an important issue, but users just say, 'I want [a handheld]. Security is somebody else's problem, not mine,' " Hoxmeir said.

Though the Certicom technology will guard against midair interception of data, a bigger problem for IT is what data employees are putting on their handhelds, according to Ken Dulaney, vice president of mobile computing at the Gartner Group, in San Jose, Calif.

The storage of company information on personally owned handheld devices is a serious problem, Dulaney said.

"We need something from Puma, like a console, that tracks what corporate data is flowing out to these devices," Dulaney added.



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