Samsung launches SAFE with Knox for mobile devices enterprise security

Samsung has unveiled software which enables a secure work profile to run on a Samsung mobile device

Samsung has unveiled software that enables a secure work profile to run within a Samsung mobile device.

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the mobile manufacturer showed off its Samsung For Enterprise (SAFE) with Knox product which could help to push forward the bring your own device (BYOD) trend that is occurring in the enterprise.

The Knox software incorporates Security Enhanced (SE) Android, developed by the NSA (National Security Agency), and provides enhanced security in the hardware of the device, as well as the Android operating system (OS).

The Knox application sits on the device’s home screen and allows the user to separate business from personal applications and data. The software supports file system level encryption, offering protection of business data and applications from data leakage and virus and malware attacks.

The system is also compatible with other infrastructure solutions such as mobile device management (MDM) and virtual private networks (VPN).

The IT administrator for the business will also have control over the work profile, allowing certain apps, while restricting others. However, the business will not be able to access the user’s normal phone features and content which sits outside of the Knox app.

The product is similar to BlackBerry Balance, a new feature of BlackBerry 10 which was launched at the end of January.

BlackBerry Balance enables a user to have two home screens at the swipe of a finger; one for personal and one for work. Similar to Knox, the professional profile can be controlled by the IT department, enabling a company to have its own app store with specifically approved software for downloading and keeping consumer apps that could pose a threat away from the corporate network.

According to Gartner, the consumerisation of IT is one of the most disruptive IT trends in this decade. This leaves businesses confused by the opportunities, infrastructure and how to monitor personal devices in the workplace.

“Knox demonstrates Samsung’s growing appreciation of the security and management needs of enterprise users and the value of integrating such features into its Android smart devices out of the box. This could be an important differentiator over most of Samsung’s Android device rivals, for which bring your own device and other enterprise mobility initiatives largely take a back seat," said Tony Cripps, devices and platforms analyst at Ovum.

“The announcement also positions Samsung well to exploit any softening in demand among enterprises and 'prosumers' for BlackBerry devices, which have long provided the benchmark for enterprise smart devices," he said. "It can also take advantage of any reluctance by businesses to deploy applications and data on Apple iOS devices.”

Knox is part of SAFE, and will be launched on selected Samsung Galaxy devices in the UK over the coming year.

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