For a few years, maybe 2008 to 2011, it wasn’t uncommon to board an airplane and see a fellow passenger feverishly typing away on their BlackBerry. The door closes, the phone goes away, and once you’re up above 10,000 feet, that same guy pulls out an iPhone and starts playing a game or watching a movie. Carrying multiple handsets, one for work and one for play, was so common it became a stereotype.
It became that way for a reason. BlackBerry killed at enterprise but didn’t adapt fast enough to ride the mainstream smartphone revolution wave. Neither did Microsoft. Apple and Android, meanwhile, didn’t have their enterprise act together as they rose in consumer awareness.
So people were stuck with phones that were great for just half of their lives. Some suffered trying to get work done on an iPhone or Android, or trying to have fun with a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile. Or they tried carrying two phones and dealing with the requisite overhead.
Now it’s 2013. Bring-Your-Own-Device has brought iPhone and Android into enterprise, and entirely new platforms have brought Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 fully into the personal space.
Introduced in early 2013 alongside the Samsung Galaxy S4, Knox is Samsung’s take on mobile enterprise security on consumer devices. Knox is designed to segregated work and personal data on Samsung devices, securing the apps and services needed for enterprise IT while protecting the employee’s privacy in their consumer apps and services. Samsung claims that Knox “addresses all major security gaps in Android.”
Knox includes a customizable secure boot to limit the installation and running of applications and a Knox Container environment for running launcher, apps, and widgets in a self-contained ‘sandbox’ that is segregated from the rest of the memory and encrypted by a 256-bit key.
Samsung’s also partnered with Centrify, bringing their Active Directory secure cloud sign-on to Knox-enabled devices. This enables users on compatible corporate cloud services to log in once and access multiple mobile services.
So can one device now do it all?
With BlackBerry 10, the idea of “dual personas” is baked right into the device. With BlackBerry Balance you essentially have two phones in one, a secure enterprise partition for work, and another for personal stuff. You can change between the two elegantly and easily – swipe down on the home screen, tap an icon, and you’re either on the job or off.
When in work mode, you get all your work features and the company gets all their security as well. You can access your enterprise services and apps, and the IT guys can enforce security policies to ensure data is kept safe. When you’re in personal mode, it’s your stuff and IT has no window into it.
It’s the best of both worlds, and something all platforms should embrace.
That’s the best of both worlds, and it’s something I’d like to see all platforms embrace. Right now you can sort of do something similar with third party apps that sit on top of the OS, but that doesn’t provide the same level of integration or the seamlessness of a built-in solution.
The ability to securely switch accounts is a basic service of traditional computing. It’s time for it to become a basic service of mobile computing as well.
As a consumer I can download Angry Birds, as an IT administrator I can worry about protecting the information I care about.
– Scott Totzke / Senior Vice President, BlackBerry Security