Samsung may bundle Office apps into Knox

Samsung may bundle Office apps into Knox

According to reports from the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung plans to bundle Microsoft’s Office apps – OneDrive, OneNote and Office 365 – into its Knox Workspace, Samsung’s enterprise security platform that enhances the security of data and applications on Android-based devices.

The Knox platform secures the boot process, provisioning, application execution, data storage and transmission, while retaining compatibility with Android’s functionality and ecosystem.

The deal was mentioned by Dr. Injong Rhee, according to a report by Tim Anderson of The Register, but so far no further details have emerged.

The Knox platform provides security through a combination of hardware and software. The Knox project got started in November 2011, with products launched in October 2014, according to Rhee. He described the platform as having four elements: a secure platform (Workspace) with containers and certificate management capabilities, a cloud-based mobile device management system (Knox Enterprise Mobility Management), an enterprise app store for housing SaaS applications with integrated single sign-on capabilities, and an identity and access management system.

Rhee's talk also demonstrated the latest data separation capabilities of Knox 2.0 container technology. It keeps corporate managed apps and data separate from personals ones, for instance. End users see different screens, or "personas," when accessing corporate and personal apps. However, Knox 2.0 also features an integrated experience without such distinctions for those that want it.

Rhee claimed that it takes just 10 clicks to set up a manageable Knox mobile device.

Samsung also revealed that KNOX will come bundled as part of the new Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones, according to a report in TechRadar.

In October 2104 Samsung products were placed on the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSfC) Program Component List, validating them to handle classified information. Earlier, the Defense Information Systems Agency OK’d use of the Android/Samsung Knox platform as part of its 2.0 release of the DOD Mobility Capability.

Samsung Knox has partnered with mobile device management solution providers AirWatch, Good Technology and MobileIron on the technology, Rhee said. So far, there are 25 million Knox embedded devices in the market with more than one million activated users, he said. Samsung has more than 2,000 engineers dedicated to the Knox project.

Microsoft and Samsung already have collaborated on the Knox platform by enabling "workplace join" capabilities. Workplace join is Microsoft's technology for enabling non-domain-joined devices to be managed when running Windows Server 2012 R2 workloads.

Brad Anderson, Microsoft corporate vice president for Enterprise Mobility, previously noted that Microsoft has built container technologies to work with both Android and iOS platforms, including SDKs and wrappers for independent software vendors to leverage. Microsoft is also embedding the mobile device management capabilities of its own Intune cloud-based device management solution into Office 365 apps, Anderson said.

While Microsoft could be working to enable the management of Office 365 Android apps via Knox Workspace, it definitely is not working with Google on its Android for Work mobile device management partner program. Microsoft has affirmed that part, at least.

This article originally appeared on Redmond, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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