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Security and data sovereignty for defence services and enterprises
Sanshey Biswas  6th Dec 2014

Mobiliya’s secure devices.

Mobiliya makes devices and systems that protect data. In an age when both individuals and companies are being profiled everywhere they go on the world wide web, enterprises need all the help they can get when it comes to security solutions — how do companies keep their information from leaking out? How does the Ministry of Defence protect its intelligence? We spoke to the SVP of Engineering at Mobilya, Ankush Tiwari after the Defence Conference 2014 in New Delhi.

Q. What sort of devices are you offering?

A. We provide [defence services or enterprises] secure devices with secure platforms. Today, the challenges are two-fold. Unknowingly, all defence personnel are using private devices running on open-source systems. Thus, everyone is leaking tons of data. For instance, Google Now tells me about my flight schedule, meeting invitations, the stocks I was looking up, where I was staying. There is so much information about me being profiled without my putting in any input other than having pressed the deadly "I accept" button somewhere.

It's alright for me, but imagine if a defence personnel is carrying this and the map location tells someone, "These many hours away from home", they can be tracked, thus leaking the co-ordinates of a defence establishment. We suggest that the defence provide a list of devices they allow and we will deploy our OS on them to manage such threats. We have "ruggedised" devices — completely secure, dust-proof, water-proof and tamper-proof. These devices are secure against security breaches.

Q. Do you manufacture these devices or acquire and deploy your platform on them? Also, we believe you've moved the data centres to India?

A. We do the hardware design. Unfortunately, we don't have really good manufacturing facilities in India. We get the final form-factor finished outside India. It's designed by us and the OS is ours, based on Android.

We are in the secure devices business, so typically, we can give them the data centres wherever they want. We work with companies from different countries. If there's a restriction on the data centre's location, we will oblige. But in 99% of the cases, it goes into their data centres.

Q. Once an organisation deploys your system, is there no chance that data leaks will occur?

A. Honestly, what you're asking is not possible. We provide 100% security. There is no data theft or leaks. We've done very advanced certifications with a lot of government bodies, so that is something we're very sure is controlled.

Q. What about corporate solutions? How different are those from the defence model?

A. Actually, they're not all different. The only thing is that the defence services are a little bit more paranoid. Enterprises also need the same kind of security. It's the same product, but the compliance we have to go through with the defence services is a bit more stringent.

We have a complete testing team. We perform inter-operability testing and the government bodies then do their independent security analysis.

Q. You've said that your new product, Shoonya, is India-centric...

A. Have you ever wondered why we don't have a Baidu or Alibaba in India? We are a liberal country, which is very good for all of us. But in terms of security, we need to be very strict. Shoonya is made and deployed in India. All the data centres will be in India or your premises. So, no data is going out of India unchecked. There is no other MDM that's made in India and offering this today. When I talk about security, I mean data sovernity. Shoonya offers you that. Also, Shoonya stands for no worries, not a zero product.

Q. How much would it cost for an enterprise to buy, deploy and maintain your system?

A. We are made in India, which doesn't mean it lacks in quality but we can really offer competitive prices. I would not like to put a number on this but it's far more competitive than any other company.

Q. How's the UI on your devices? Is there a learning curve?

A. For an end user, there is no impact. It's just that the enterprises using the same Android devices are guaranteed security. We don't want the user to run a new paradigm. We want the enterprise world today to be exactly the same as consumer world. In the consumer world, sharing a picture is as simple as uploading it to Facebook and tagging people. In the enterprise world, data needs to go through secure channels that make the process tricky. We are more productive in the consumer world, even though the enterprise needs it way more.

Q. How do you keep up with the upgrades that Android OS goes through?

A. Once an Android version is out, we take typically three to four weeks to get you the update.

Q. Is your KratOS platform similar to the Boeing Black Phone?

A. Yes. We consider that competition.

Q. Where besides India do you have customers?

A. We aren't supposed to disclose where we are shipping our products. What I can tell you is that we're doing a lot of work in Europe and North America.

Q. What's your gameplan now?

A. Security issues are something everyone is aware of now. We want to be a key company in the enterprise mobile security domain. I wouldn't consider myself successful if I can't give it to India. This is coming from the heart, without any business angle associated to it.

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