It's been a little over two weeks that the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 in Barcelona concluded. Although the hype around all things mobile is slowly beginning to settle, the launch of Samsung's KNOX at the event continues to drive conversations as the big news in enterprise mobility. At MWC, Samsung introduced a dual-persona phone technology that enables the users to alternate between the personal aspects of their phone to a separate, encrypted container for business.
Popularly known as containerization, most enterprise mobile strategists view it as a key driver in implementing BYOD policy and mobile security, in even the most conservative companies. Containerization separates enterprise data from personal data by creating a secure partition on a smart device. With such segmentation, enterprise applications and data can be accessed and used in isolation without having to worry about mixing it with personal data. The technology clearly demarcates information and applications used for work and play.
Containerization comes in many forms and the C-suite is already exploring different approaches to the same goal – maintain the experience an employee is used to have with personal data on the device while safeguarding the corporate data. One of the approaches suggests separating the two forms of data thereby expecting the user to switch back and forth between the two worlds as and when it is required to do so. The second approach proposes the creation of secure containers for specific apps allowing them to co-exist with the personal ones. In the offing is also an advanced approach to containerization that involves the use of hypervisors to create a virtual phone within a phone.
Both Blackberry and Samsung have adopted a separate container approach in their offerings. With Blackberry, the Balance toggle can be used to switch between the enterprise and personal data on the phone.
The recently announced Samsung KNOX however offers the complete separate container approach. Present as an icon on the home screen, the KNOX container offers various enterprise applications like contacts, file sharing and calendars in a secure environment.
Though the mass uptake of this technology may take time, few companies have taken the first steps towards this approach. Meanwhile, though the IT decision makers seem impressed with such mobile device management complements, the pros and cons associated with it like any other emerging technology still need to be weighed. Slowly but surely the progress is being made towards helping organizations achieve more control with security in the BYOD era, which in itself is good news.