The days of carrying two phones, one for work and one for personal use, may be coming to an end. Samsung is making it even easier for companies to support employee’s own devices, as long as those employees use a Samsung Galaxy S III or the Note II. Samsung’s SAFE, an acronym for Samsung for enterprise, is getting a powerful upgrade called KNOX. We should start seeing devices protected by SAFE with KNOX starting in the second quarter of this year.
The protection from KNOX starts all the way at the hardware level, ensuring an authentic startup with secure boot. Next, the kernel is protected by TrustZone-based integrity monitoring and Security Enhanced (SE) Android. Users or IT departments can also a secure container, protected by AES 256-bit encryption, to house proprietary, sensitive, or corporate applications. This container can be toggled from the pull down menu or a shortcut on the home screen and all information, including copied text, cannot cross the container barrier in either direction.
KNOX is also dedicated to helping corporations support these devices by increasing virtual private network (VPN) support, allowing different VPNs for individual apps. There are also a total of 338 more IT policies that can be access via the KNOX API, allowing companies to customize the experience to a much higher degree than most other solutions.
This news benefits consumers, as more companies will be able to support its employees using their own devices for work purposes. Consumers can rest assured that their personal information is safe, too, because companies will only have access to corporate containers rather than the entire smartphone.
While the full-featured version of KNOX will only be available on new devices in Q2, Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III owners may be getting a maitenece release will features such as the secure container and SE Android. KNOX components that rely on hardware modification, like secure boot, won’t be available for current devices.
With these updates, Samsung is positioning themselves to be the go-to devices for business users. In a Samsung-commissioned IDG study of 500 end users and 200 IT managers, 85 percent of companies support users bringing their own devices. Of these survey respondents, 72 percent also said that companies that did not support a bring-you-own-device policy were at a competitive disadvantage.