In January, at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung made an initial push into the BYOD enterprise world with its Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) platform, promising businesses not only to provide employees with mobile devices but also software to secure, monitor and manage them.
Now, at the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, the Korean mobile device maker has taken its enterprise BYOD initiative a step farther with Samsung KNOX (as in the impenetrable Fort Knox), an end-to-end secure solution that tightens security from the hardware through to the application layer.
The KNOX package houses features important to IT managers and developers, such as Security Enhanced (SE) Android, single-sign on, FIPS-compliant VPN, on-device encryption, Active Directory support, smart card-based multifactor authentication and integrity management services implemented in both hardware and the Android framework.
Most notably, at the application layer KNOX features an application container that separates mobile device business and personal use, enforced by SE Android and file system-level encryption to protect business data and applications from data leakage, viruses and malware attacks. With application containers such as that in KNOX, personal applications and data remain out of view and control of IT managers but selected work-related applications such as email, browser, contacts, calendars, file sharing, collaboration, CRM and business intelligence can be offered securely. And, Android ecosystem applications automatically gain enterprise integration and validated, robust security with no changes required to the application source code.
Beginning sometime in Q2, Samsung plans to ship KNOX baked into selected mobile devices, and although the vendor hasn’t identified which ones will gain the BYOD-level security, some safe bets are the impending Galaxy S IV, the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II and tablets such as the Galaxy Note 8. The benefit, of course, to businesses sporting the Knox-equipped devices is they double as a business and personal unit in one.
"Security and privacy are understandably held up as barriers to businesses embracing BYOD demands,” said JK Shin, Samsung president and IT and Mobile Division head. “Meanwhile, users are seeing the latest smartphones and tablets and knocking at the door of IT demanding to be able to use their own devices. The solution is clear--combine the business and personal in a single device. Samsung KNOX achieves this harmony between enterprise control and employee satisfaction by delivering fundamental security at the platform level, while leaving the user experience consistent."