Unisys is introducing a new service that will allow its customers to better manage, secure and support mobile devices carried around by employees, company executives said.

Staff now expect to use their choice of devices anytime and anywhere, and this causes problems for CIOs around cost, the cost of support, and the security of applications and data, said Tony Doye, president of Unisys' Global Outsourcing and Infrastructure Services group, in a telephone interview.

CIOs are concerned about corporate data "roaming the streets," he added.

The service framework for the new end-user productivity services will support Windows Mobile phones and BlackBerry devices, with support for the iPhone and other devices available in later releases.

Currently organizations generally manage devices with specific technologies that only work with a specific platform, rather than with a consistent framework across a variety of devices, said Sam Gross, Unisys' vice president for global IT outsourcing solutions.

Some early-adopter customers, mainly in Central Europe, are already using the mobile-device management framework, he said.

The framework is managed by Unisys for customers, and the management and support of the devices is also done from the company's services delivery centers around the world, he added.

The new service will enable CIOs to reduce end-user costs by providing support for different devices, desktop PCs, applications and mobile data access through a mix of traditional, virtualised and secure cloud-based service delivery models, Unisys said. Unisys is also offering access to standard office suites by subscription through a service called Virtual Office as a service from the Unisys Secure Cloud.

The Unisys Secure Cloud has technology that protects both data in mobile devices and in storage, using a combination of encryption and dispersion of data.

"The model that we are delivering is server-side virtualisation services, and in this situation the data never ends up on the end-point," Gross said.

Unisys is also offering generic services such as the ability to destroy the image on a device if it is reported lost, he added.

Unisys' Unified Communications as a Service, also delivered through Unisys Secure Cloud, offers Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office Communicator applications in a multi-tenant environment.

Besides offering these productivity applications, customers can also provide their employees with access to other applications running at the company, through the Unisys cloud, Gross said.