MobileIron, the Mountain View, Calif.-based maker of mobile device management (MDM) solutions, announced today that the company has attracted a big partner. Box, the enterprise cloud storage specialist, has joined the company’s AppConnect ecosystem.

AppConnect is a partner program that enables mobile apps from participating companies to be managed from MobileIron’s MDM platform. The aim is to enable IT departments to keep data secure on smartphones and tablets while providing a native experience for users.

Recalling the eternal tug-of-war between IT security and end-user expectations, Justin Somaini, Chief Trust Officer at Box said in a statement that “today’s CIOs need to build BYOD policies that find the right balance between empowering employees and ensuring the protection of content.”

“Together, Box and MobileIron offer the security, visibility, and policy management that IT demands, while providing the ease-of-use and productivity that users expect,” added Somaini.

AppConnect appeases both sides by catering to both IT administrators and users, according to Sean Convery, vice president of Product Management for MobileIron. Boasting that the program “gives both groups exactly what they need,” AppConnect enables mobile workforces by providing “the productivity apps that are driving mobile adoption in the first place, with the security our customers need to embrace the change,” he said in a statement.

In addition to Box, MobileIron has tapped Accellion, Acronis and WatchDox to help fill out AppConnect’s mobile enterprise content slate. The companies are kicking off the new collaboration with promotional pricing.

Ryan Kalember, Chief Product Officer of WatchDox, said the integration makes sense for today’s mobile-enabled work practices. “Mobile users now expect to access and share everything from email to desktop files on all their devices from behind the firewall. MobileIron’s API lets us extend WatchDox’s file-level security to protect documents at rest, in transit or in use, in on-premise environments or in the cloud,” he stated in prepared remarks.

AppConnect is symbolic of MobileIron’s expanding app-focused initiatives. Last year, the company added app-scanning capabilities from Veracode, helping organizations to avoid apps that put sensitive data at risk. The company’s other mobile application management offerings include an Enterprise App Storefront that enables businesses to create a walled garden of apps.

MobileIron is not alone in targeting security-conscious enterprises.

Dell announced late last year that it was gearing up to launch its own Enterprise Mobility Management product, which will also provide mobile application and content management components. The company also faces competition from none other than virtualization specialist VMware. The EMC subsidiary announced on Jan. 22 that it was buying MDM startup AirWatch for $1.5 billion.

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