Armour Mobile starts to scale!
At Armour we started out providing solutions to really quite specific security problems. How to enable people that need to communicate via mobile phones to do so, in utmost privacy without danger that their conversation could be, intercepted, recorded, or hacked.
This is quite a bit more complex than it sounds, given that some parts of the mobile phone network relies on 40 year old technology, and large swathes of the internet is owned by multi-national social media companies who are far more interested in passing on their users’ details to advertisers than they are in user privacy.
What started out as a ‘boutique’ security solution for Government departments, defence contractors, specialist security services and other highly security-conscious organisations is now being adopted by a much broader user base.
We are pleased to report that Armour Mobile is no longer just the secure comms app of choice for a relatively small number of specialist individuals within organisations, Armour Mobile is now being deployed on a far wider scale.
This hasn’t happened overnight. It’s long been our mission to bring truly secure mobile comms and collaborative working to the professional market. With this in mind we’ve introduced some new features that make Armour Mobile more usable at scale.
Integration and Management
The integration and management elements of Armour Mobile are key aspects in any enterprise deployment. In any large organisation, be it commercial, government or not-for-profit, the number of software applications will be too many for it to be possible to manage each one individually. Learning the unique methods of getting the best out of each application would simply take too much time and so they need to be integrated into a set of industry standards to be managed efficiently.
As an example, to meet resilience and redundancy most modern software products are now using or are moving to using Kubernetes to provide automation of deployment, scaling and management for applications. Put simply, Kubernetes allows products to be handled consistently and efficiently without the need for detailed understanding of each product. We are developing Kubernetes support in our Armour Core for a future release to enable it to scale.
One-click provisioning, as the name suggests makes it much easier for end users to get up and running with Armour Mobile, and if it’s easier to use, then users are more likely to use it, without question, or introducing workarounds that negate the inbuilt security. With one-click provisioning there are now different ways to receive the provisioning information including a printed card, text, email with deep links or secure (one time use) QR codes. Users simply download the App, receive the provisioning information via the preferred means, and click. For the IT department and Security Officer this means better user adoption and less chance of support calls because the process is so simple. The secure ‘one time use only’ means that disposal of this data once used is easy and removes the need for secure disposal.
In response to larger customers we’ve addressed the need to be able to integrate Armour Mobile with an organisation’s existing Directory Servers (LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory). Currently Armour Mobile has its own Contacts list into which users can add other users’ contact details, as well as import Contacts files containing multiple users’ details. While this works well for smaller groups of users, it does mean that additions/deletions/changes don’t get automatically replicated across all users, which in larger organisations and enterprises can be a daily occurrence.
Armour Mobile Contacts Directory will enable users to more efficiently keep up to date with all the personnel changes that occur in a large organisation. From a user experience perspective things will look very similar in that a user simply types the name, or the first part of a name, and the system will automatically reference the Contacts Directory in addition to the user’s local Contacts List looking for names matched to what has been typed. The user is given a list of search matches that can then be used to form a new message, or make a call.
Benefits of Scale
The benefits to user organisations of scaling our solutions are many and include the following:
Resilience – the ability to maintain a service 24/7 no matter what, for example, from hacking attacks or natural disaster. Resilience is measured and designed on three basic principles, Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. Depending on which of these are most important then the design of the infrastructure and its protection can change.
Redundancy – preparing for the fact that modules of the infrastructure will fail and ensuring that when it happens another part of the infrastructure takes over (ideally this would be automatic).
Monitoring – knowing what is happening at any given time and being able to send alerts to people when certain capacities are reached, for example, so that action can be taken if required.
Logging – knowing that you have the data to decipher what has happened when something goes wrong. Many cyber security solutions rely heavily on logging (and monitoring) to warn of a potential attack.
Reporting – understanding who is using the solution enables organisations to ensure that everyone that should be using it for business communications, is using it. In addition, an audit module provides full audit trail capabilities for regulated industries.
In 2020 we’ve seen a huge move towards many more people working from home, outside of the usual enterprise security infrastructure. As we’ve discussed in other blogs, this has brought the use of consumer-grade apps and their suitability for use in business communications into sharp focus. As working remotely is set to become the new normal for many more workers, even after the pandemic is over, providing employees with suitably secure tools for the job is now a priority for many enterprises.