Samsung SAFE With KNOX Demoed: Box Off Your Business Life

According to a study commissioned by Samsung, 85 percent of companies support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in some fashion and 72 percent of employees said they are less likely to take a job at a company that doesn’t allow them to use their own phones for work. To make BYOD easier for both the IT department and the end user, Samsung’s upcoming SAFE with KNOX software creates a separate container for business applications on your phone, allowing your work data and programs to remain secure.

At Samsung’s Mobile World Congress 2013 booth, we got a chance to see the KNOX container running on a Samsung Galaxy S III. By simply tapping the KNOX icon on the home screen, a rep showed us how the phone prompts you for a password then opens a separate environment complete with different wallpaper and a tiny KNOX logo on top of each app.

KNOX Environment

Users are free to choose their own wallpapers, but the list of available graphics is different than the normal Galaxy S III list because the company wants users to choose a different graphic for the container than for their personal environments. With a different wallpaper, you’ll always know which environment you’re in.

Any app that your IT department allows you to use in KNOX must meet Samsung’s security standards and allow single sign-on. So once you’re logged into the KNOX container, you don’t need to log in again for your business cloud storage or email app.

To switch back to the phone’s regular environment, you can simply tap the Personal icon that appears on the KNOX container desktop. You can also switch back and forth from the notification drawer. If you hit the apps button, you see a list of all running apps across both environments and switching between apps switches your environment.

KNOX Password

While it’s easy to switch from one environment to another, you cannot share data between the two. If you copy data to the clipboard in the KNOX container, it won’t be there in the personal container. The two contacts lists remain separate and you can’t send a contact from one to the other.

Even the data files saved by applications in the container are encrypted so that if you run a file explorer app in the personal environment, you won’t be able to browse the folders that contain the apps and data from the container.

While going to such great lengths to separate your home and business apps may seem strange to many home users, this contained enivronment allows security-conscious enterprise customers to feel comfortable that their employees won’t steal their data or have viruses infect their apps.

It also protects your privacy, because unlike with most non-containered device management solutions, your office IT department does not have access to your data and apps, only the container. If you leave your job and the company wants to make sure you don’t take sensitive apps and data with you, the IT department can erase the container without messing with your other apps.

Samsung SAFE with KNOX will be available exclusively on Samsung Galaxy phones starting later this year. Many of the company’s current devices will also get KNOX support.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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