As another step in the company's Policy Orchestration initiative, iPass Inc. (NASDAQ: IPAS) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Mobile Automation in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $20 million. Over the last seven years, Mobile Automation, a privately-held Westlake Village, Calif. company, has become a recognised leader in solutions that help enterprise IT departments protect and manage their remote and mobile devices such as computers and personal data assistants (PDAs). Combining the Mobile Automation technology with the iPass secure connectivity platform is expected to help iPass protect "at-risk" devices whenever they are connected to the Internet. The acquisition is subject to certain specified closing conditions.
Mobile Automation has developed a powerful suite of Web-based services that allow enterprise IT departments to better manage remote and mobile devices throughout their lifecycle, including security assessment, software deployment and update, and IT support. These services are built to be easy to deploy and use, and are optimised for mobile connectivity environments. Designed to maximise both end-user productivity and network security, Mobile Automation services let IT departments set policies and priorities for software updates to ensure that computers receive required software and operating system updates without needless impact on the user experience.
iPass Policy Orchestration is a layer of software intelligence built into the iPass connectivity platform that enables iPass services to control and enforce the use of enterprise policy-based security systems. iPass expects the integration of Mobile Automation's capabilities, recently acquired Safe3w device "fingerprinting" technology and iPass Policy Orchestration technology to help IT departments ensure that their remote and mobile PCs are properly protected over every Internet connection, and that only trusted devices are given access to corporate networks.
"Mobile computers and PDAs are the weakest links in the enterprise security chain," said Ken Denman, iPass CEO. "Corporations need to keep these devices continuously protected. Current methods only protect devices once they connect to the corporate network, which exposes them and the corporate network to a variety of dangers that leave the enterprise open to competitive, financial and legal risks. iPass services integrated with Mobile Automation technology will minimise these dangers in a way no other company can today."
The analyst firm IDC sees the worldwide patch management business as a $2.4 billion industry in 2003 growing to $4.1 billion by 2008. Mobile device management is projected to be the fastest growing segment of this market according to IDC, eclipsing $900 million in revenue by 2008 with a 49 percent compounded annual growth rate over the next four years.
Enterprise IT departments are increasingly seeking services to provide assurance that those remote and mobile devices holding valuable and sensitive corporate information assets are always protected when connected to the Internet. Through a pre-existing licensing agreement, iPass has been working to tightly integrate Mobile Automation's patented technology together with its Policy Orchestration capabilities.
This combination is expected to give iPass customers simple yet powerful mobile device management capabilities to:
Streamline and automate patch management - determining what vendor patches and upgrades apply to a particular user group and creating "packages" for distribution to endpoint computers. Mobile Automation partners with Shavlik, the recognised industry leader in security patch management for Windows environments.
Deliver patches to remote and mobile devices efficiently - iPass will be able to automatically assess and deploy updates to corporate PCs as soon as they access the Internet. Optimised for mobile computers, these services enhance performance over lower-speed and less reliable Internet connections such as dial-up and wireless networks.
Monitor patch levels - gain visibility into what patch and security software versions are deployed across the often hard-to-manage remote and mobile computing universe within an enterprise.
Automation has a track record of proven success with approximately $4 million in revenues over the last four quarters, a list of well-known customers, and strong consistent growth over the past three years. iPass expects to make services based on Mobile Automation technology available this quarter to its corporate customers directly and through its diverse array of channel partners.