Mobile World Congress: Samsung is Knoxing on your door again

By John Arkontaky
On Feb 27, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Samsung introduced Knox to the world during last year’s Mobile World Conference (MWC). This year, Samsung followed-up with Knox 2.0 at MWC, giving IT and end users a more robust experience for securing devices and for app accessibility. The Knox platform includes both hardware security features for Galaxy endpoints as well as a dual-persona container that separates company and personal data.

Knox 2.0 brings various features ranging from the management consoles through the user experience (UX). For example, Knox Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) includes a management portal IT administrators can use to monitor enrolled devices and user profiles—deploying containers, security policies therein, and creating user-based permissions (which can enable or disable moving assets to and from personal and company containers) for end users. With this cloud-based console, IT can also push company-approved apps to endpoints and enforce dual authentication such as password and fingerprint scanning to unlock Galaxy devices.

What’s more, Samsung is targeting the SMB market with Knox EMM as a platform that doesn’t require deep system maintenance. At a reported $3.60 per user (as opposed to a per device price model), this platform could simultaneously boost Android support in bring your own device (BYOD) and choose your own devices (CYOD) workplaces.

Additionally, Knox 2.0 brings partnerships from mobility management vendors such as MobileIron and Good Technology into the picture. These partnerships allow IT to leverage not only Knox EMM, but also MobileIron’s AppConnect and the Good “Secure Domain” on Galaxy endpoints. With AppConnect, MobileIron wraps individual apps with encryption protections, while Good’s Secure Domain combines its container and app-protection services with the Knox platform.

Apps drive the mobile experience, and along with all the security announcements comes something end users will especially appreciate. With Knox 2.0 IT can bless almost any app in the Google Play store for company use. Further, IT can push these apps to a private enterprise app store, Knox Marketplace. While Samsung isn’t claiming to support all Google Play apps, it’s certainly a profound step forward in comparison to the limited supported apps previously available.

Many companies will soon be filling a void left by BlackBerry. By the end of 2013, approximately 70% of companies incorporated Android device support in their mobile management systems. At the same time, about 30% of companies already decommissioned BlackBerry devices, and about another 40% of companies will decommission BlackBerry smartphones by the end of this year. Samsung Knox 2.0 gives Android a needed boost to compete with Apple for market share. Tying everything together, Knox 2.0 will come pre-installed in Samsung Galaxy S5 devices—which was also announced at MWC. Those currently leveraging the Knox platform on other Samsung devices will need to upgrade their OSs to KitKat before upgrading.

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