Samsung Knox is a new enterprise mobile solution for Samsung Android smartphones like the new S4 (and S3 and Galaxy Note 2) that 'meets enterprise IT security needs without invading employee’s privacy'.
Samsung has established new SAFE (Samsung for Enterprise) initiative ostensibly to provide peace of mind to Enterprise users that its Android devices are safe as BYOD on a corporate network. The user simply presses an Icon that switches from Personal to Work use – no delay or reboot time. It has three components – Platform security, Application Security and mobile device management (MDM). The split personality phone can be controlled fully by the IT department – locked down tighter than a fish’s backside. Your private persona is yours to do whatever you want and “never the twain shall meet”.
But Samsung was not the first, nor was BlackBerry (with its QNX Unix based OS) either. LG demonstrated a phone last year using a VMWare Horizon Mobile that works on Android phones from LG, Motorola, Samsung and others.
MS is readying a version of their Kids corner that does a similar thing and already has proven apps like AirWatch (also for Apple, BlackBerry and Android) that offer strong enterprise features allowing remote location and wiping so while Knox/Balance are going to make a difference in BYOD environments they are not new “killer apps”.
Analysts have commented that it would be of more use if handsets also supported dual Sims – one for work and one for home.
Other analysts have commented that while the choice of the name [Fort] Knox is a good choice it is yet unproven and as Android is a highly hackable OS may yet be as unsinkable as the Titanic.
BlackBerry’s comment was that the Android kernel is inherently vulnerable and BlackBerry Balance can better secure its BB10 OS as it is developed in house by engineers who have full access to the QNX code. Perversely Chris Wade, the author of Dingleberry (a BlackBerry PlayBook jailbreak) has announced he has started on BB10 (but who knows if he will succeed).
Whatever the outcome Knox, BB Balance, Win 8 Phone and iOS are all playing for keeps in the enterprise space and their solutions all allow the end user to choose the device that suits their needs for features and cost.