Neoteris provides intranet access for smartphones

An update to Neoteris' communications applicance allows mobile workers to take secure email with them, while leaving their laptops at home

Neoteris, a developer of enterprise communications products, has updated its email gateway to allow smart phones and PDAs encrypted access to a corporate intranet without the need for proprietary client-side software.

The Neoteris Access Series device is a rack-mounted appliance that sits alongside a corporate firewall on the perimeter of the network. Users requiring access to the intranet are given the URL of the appliance and asked to authenticate themselves -- either with a username and password or security token. Neoteris's appliance then issues requests to the company servers and relays the relevant content to users over an encrypted link. A Symbian PDA or smartphone with the Opera browser or a device running Microsoft's Pocket PC or smartphone software is required to make the connection.

Neoteris is one of many vendors rushing to make smartphones into a viable business tool, which can increasingly replace the laptop PC for many applications. Symbian, Microsoft and Palm have worked to build enterprise-class capabilities such as virtual private network (VPN) access into their mobile products.

Johnnie Konstantas, senior product marketing manager at Neoteris told ZDNet UK that she believes this solution is unique: "Alternate methods have required some sort of proprietary software to be run on the client or by taking a VPN client and maybe shrinking it down a bit. Either way, they were not ideal for processor and memory-constrained devices," she said.

The latest version of Neoteris's appliance supports Pocket Internet Explorer and the Opera browser for Symbian-based handhelds. "As long as a device is running either one of those two browsers, it will work," said Konstantas. He pointed out that user could still establish a connection through their gateway if their device supports standard email clients and protocols: "We have tested and can assure proper operation with Microsoft Outlook Web access for mobile devices as well as Mobile Notes. We fully support standards-based mail transport, such as IMAP, SMTP and POP3," she said.

In addition, the type of network used to make the connection is irrelevant, which is good news for anyone wishing to take their PDA or smartphone instead of a laptop on business trips, said Konstantas. "People are carrying mobiles instead of laptops on a trip, which makes it easier to make it through airport security checks and is much lighter. Because we don't have dependencies on the physical layer, the system will work over both GSM and CDMA networks," she added.

GSM is the mobile network standard used in most of the world, including Europe, while CDMA is popular in the US.

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