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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Security is vital in mobile messaging – Manafa

Chief executive officer, Race Telecommunications International Limited, Mr. Theo Manafa, has said that security is a vital part of mobile messaging business especially in push electronic mail (push-email), and is a differentiating factor Seven Always-On has against competitors.

Champion Infotel recalls that the French government recently banned the use of Blackberry device in the country for fear that information sent through the device is not secured and this makes it vulnerable to unauthorized access.

Speaking on the development, Mr. Manafa said, that security goes beyond adding firewalls to a server and encrypting users personal data when it comes to push e-mail.

He also said that as Nigeria continues to adapt to the push email technology, there is need to safeguard against the threat of unauthorized access to the information sent to the mobile device through the push email server.

“The consequences of unauthorized access to data can be devastating and it poses a threat to national security,” Mr. Manafa said, stressing that security borders on making the user feel comfortable with the system and feel in control of the information sent to his mobile device without the risk of interception.

Mr. Manafa pointed out that although e-mail had existed for many years, one of the first uses of the system with a portable “always on” wireless device was the Blackberry service, adding that Blackberry was called addictive, wonderful and now, it has become a threat to national and corporate data.

He emphasised that conventionally, the information sent from the Blackberry goes through a handful of servers in the United States and Britain and the concentration of data on the server poses a threat to the security of data.

He noted that the French government argument was that the US security agency has the ability to view the content of any data sent through Blackberry server and any email that risk falling into foreign hands will pose a threat to national security.

Equally, he said, a study carried out recently revealed that Blackberry poses a data security problem, just as Total, an oil company in France has never allowed its staff to use Blackberry for security reasons.

According to the company, “there are plenty of other perfectly good push email devices in the market.”

The senior economic advisor to the French Minister, Alian Julliet was quoted as saying that government and businesses should be more wary on how they use technology to exchange information especially while using the Blackberry.

“With Blackberry, there is a problem with the protection of information; it is expected that other governments and security conscious organizations may follow in the trend to keep the Blackberry device at arms length,” Ms Julliet said.

However, Mr. Manafa, Seven Always is similar push email solution and serves as a full mobile office offering for mobile operators and service providers.

According to him, it delivers all the benefits of real time enterprise and private messaging with a very comfortable user experience and end-to-end security bringing all the components that users are familiar with when using their computer to check their email.

Seven Always-on products, Mr. Manafa said, have been designed to address the security needs of the most demanding enterprises, taking into consideration the unique challenges that are prevalent in the mobile environment.

“Unlike other mobile email solutions that replicate and store data, Seven pushes data to mobile devices in real time. The data is delivered from enterprise applications that reside behind the firewall directly to the mobile device,” he asserted.

He explained that Seven utilizes the most advanced security technologies to ensure that no one but authorized users can read or access corporate data.

“All the messages exchanged between the desktop and the mobile device is encrypted using a key only available to the connector software and the mobile device. This key is never transmitted over the public Internet or wireless network and it is never available to the relay server or its hosting organization,” he said.

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