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In a move that analysts say is likely to open the door to greater corporate use of public Internet hot spots, iPass Inc. announced Monday that it will enhance its mobile connectivity services to allow corporate IT managers to enforce security policies over all connections, including connections from public wireless hot spots.

“Mobility has been increasing in the past three years, and the corporate LAN has become boundary-less,” said Jon Russo, vice president of marketing at iPass. “The perimeter of the corporate network has become Swiss cheese. What we’re talking about today is closing down the gaps in the vulnerability of getting connected.”

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The new platform, called Policy Orchestration, will be executed by the iPass universal client to enforce a company’s security policy at endpoints—both dial-up and wireless—before they connect to the corporate network.

Policy Orchestration expands on the VPN protection iPass already enforces with support for personal firewall, anti-virus, and authentication and network access compliance tools. It also will allow IT managers to push down software updates and patches.

iPass is working with nearly 40 partners, including Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Zone Labs Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Symantec Corp. and Nomadix to integrate the platform with existing authentication, directory and identity management systems.

“We’re not becoming a security company,” Russo said. Policy Orchestration will provide “an overlay on top of those applications, making sure that the endpoint is healthy prior to getting connected,” he said.

“This could give IT managers great authority over laptops,” said John Yunker, principal analyst at Byte Level Research Inc., based in Escondido, Calif.

Noting iPass’ recent announcement that its network of affiliated hot spots has surpassed 10,000, Julie Ask, research director at Jupitermedia Corp. in San Francisco, said Policy Orchestration could go far to allay the concerns corporate IT managers and users have about security at public Internet hot spots.

Click here to read about how iPass grew its network through a partnership with T-Mobile.

Lack of security mechanisms at public hot spots, she said, ranked in corporate executives’ top three corporate security concerns in a survey Jupitermedia conducted in April. Three percent of consumers in another recent Jupiter survey said their employers’ corporate security policies prohibited them from accessing company networks via hot spots.

Ask said Policy Orchestration “is not necessarily going to solve the entire problem, but I think it solves the portion of the problem that IT can be in control of and can impact.”

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