When it comes to data security and prviacy in the age of the cloud, there are several different approaches evident in the channel. Some organizations try to keep sensitive information out of the public cloud, relying on internal infrastructure through tools such as ownCloud. Others avoid the cloud altogether. But a more novel strategy, promoted this week in new software from ZixCorp, is to make users put everything in the cloud—which, actually, could be a very good idea, provided the cloud itself is as safe as it should be.
ZixCorp's traditional purview has been email encryption. In its more than 15 years of operation, the company has added a number of important names to its list of customers, including divisions of the U.S. Treasury, federal financial regulators, health insurance providers and, according to the company, 20 percent of all hospitals in the United States.
This week, ZixCorp announced plans to take its email encryption solutions to the logical next step in the age of the cloud with a new platform, called ZixOne, that it bills as "the first bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobile email app to solve the diverging needs of protecting corporate data in email, while allowing employees to maintain privacy and control of their personal devices." ZixOne will be priced on a per-employee basis and will become commercially available Sept. 3, 2013.
Starting from the idea that "Never allowing corporate email to reside on a personal device is the most secure way to manage business data," as ZixCorp chairman and CEO Rick Spurr said in a statement, ZixOne prevents employees from downloading private email data onto personal devices. Instead, it provides a mobile email app that keeps all information from a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Exchange mail server—including messages and attachments as well as contact information and business calendars—on corporate servers alone.
By forcing private data to stay in the cloud, the solution offers assurance against much-feared scenarios where personal devices containing sensitive enterprise information are lost or stolen. In those cases, ZixOne can quickly disable corporate email access.
Of course, a tool such as this that keeps all data in the cloud is only valuable if the cloud is also secure. But that's a separate challenge from dealing with security threats related to the BYOD trend. Assuming users can live with the need for constant connectivity to access their email, which is the downside of not being able to download information, the ZixOne concept could prove to be a popular one.