IBM Gains Patent for Encrypted Push Notifications in the Cloud

There’s a lot of focus these days on securing applications and the devices that consume them. But when it comes to all the layers of software in between that enable all the applications to be consumed, security has largely been an oversight.

However, with word that IBM has been granted a patent for a secure notification system developed for the cloud, the topic is likely to become a bigger conversation soon.

Although IBM hasn’t formally decided what to do with the patent in terms of sharing the technology with other organizations, it sees the granting of the patent as an opportunity to raise awareness about mobile computing security, says Caleb Barlow, IBM's director of product management for application, data, mobile and critical infrastructure security.

The company has created a cloud-based service that enables developers to encrypt data notifications and assign them a unique message identifier (ID) in the cloud that can securely transmitted to a mobile device via a third-party service provider. Once the end-user authorizes the message, the recipient can pull down and access the encrypted content from the cloud.

Despite all the concern about security today, mobile computing will more than likely wind up being more secure than traditional desktop computing, Barlow says. In addition to seeing the rise of encrypted push notification systems, advances such as application wrapping and sandboxing are slowly making mobile computing more secure.

He says that it’s only a matter before those same concepts get applied to traditional desktop computing environments.

In the meantime, IBM is continuing to push adoption of its Worklight platform for developing mobile applications both in and out of the cloud. In addition, since acquiring Worklight, IBM has integrated Worklight with its Back-end systems and Rational portfolio of testing tools. In addition, IBM recently extended its mobile reach by acquiring Fiberlink to gain access to mobile application and device management tools.

IBM may have been outmaneuvered during the desktop era, but it clearly sees mobile computing as an opportunity to regain some lost ground with the development community. There are, of course, no shortage of mobile application development environments. However, with the company's recent acquisition of SoftLayer it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before IBM puts together a complete mobile computing service in the cloud that spans everything from the development of applications to how they are actually managed.

Be sure to read the next Security article: Security Issue Focuses Spotlight on Insecure OAuth and OpenID Implementations