Businessman with smartphone showing apps for work and personal use.

Samsung adds feature to separate work, personal data on smart phones

Samsung has announced a new feature for its Samsung for Enterprise solution that could appeal to public-sector agencies. Called Knox, it combines platform and application security as well as mobile device management (MDM) for Samsung smart phones.

The main feature that could appeal to users and network administrators alike is the ability to keep work and personal documents and applications in two separate environments. This is fast becoming a key feature phones intended for use in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environments. BlackBerry takes that approach with the Balance feature in BlackBerry 10, and other companies, such as VMWare and Red Bend are making software  that does the same thing, according to Bloomberg News.

Samsung displayed its solution at the recent Mobile World Congress, and according to attendees the devices performed well. The Verge reported that “Switching between environments on the Galaxy SIII test units … is basically instantaneous – there’s no lag, no delay, no boot time.”

However, it is too early to tell which Samsung devices will work with Knox, as it requires specific on-chip memory to work properly. As Steve Patterson of Network World puts it, “Knox does not really represent a Bring Your Own Device replacement because it is hardware-dependent, so it won’t run on every Android device. So as long as there are ordinary Android and iOS devices in an enterprise, MDM will be needed for BYOD.”

So, to fully implement the network security features it would be necessary to run it under the auspices of Samsung for Enterprise. Nevertheless, having a split-environment, secure Android platform is still likely to attract the interest of agencies.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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