Telecom New Zealand's IT arm Gen-i has announced its successful three-week trial and implementation of Samsung's new smartphone security solution known as Knox, becoming the first IT services provider in the world to sign a distribution deal with Samsung for the technology.
Knox is Samsung's ploy to lure more enterprise customers away from BlackBerry with its promise of secure segmentation between personal and business information on devices, aiding more widespread adoption of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model in the workplace.
"BYOD has, naturally, introduced a variety of security issues to the enterprise, but the fact remains that businesses embracing this strategy are enjoying significant advantages over competitors, as well as the benefits that come with a happy workforce," Simon Stanford, vice president of IM division at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, said in February at Mobile World Congress when first announcing Knox.
Gen-i chief operating officer Jo Allison said today that the use of personal smartphones at work is now "an inherent expectation" among employees.
"Typically, end users want their personal choice of device, whereas businesses make this decision based on which devices and operating systems are the most secure. With the launch of Samsung Knox, our clients now have the option of choosing the consumer market's most popular smartphones, knowing that security, control of business applications, and employee privacy are all taken care of," said Allison.
Knox implements Security Enhanced Linux for Android, which keeps business applications and data in a separate container to personal information. The secure container can be reached by a code or PIN and controlled by a business' IT team.
It was originally supposed to be included in Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S4, which was launched in April, but was delayed due to further testing. GS4s with Knox implemented have since been cleared for use within the US Department of Defense (DoD), aided by Samsung's partnership this month with Fixmo, a mobility company that provides mobile device management software for the DoD along with other US government agencies.
In September, Samsung also stated that it would be bundling Lookout's Android antivirus products within its Knox suite.
"We're excited to partner with Lookout to bring an additional level of security to Samsung Knox. Lookout is the leader in mobile threat protection, and through attachment scanning and safe browsing, they are uniquely equipped to address business mobile security and the evolving challenges in the BYOD movement," Dr Injong Rhee, senior vice president of Knox at Samsung, said at the time.
In the financial year ending June 30, 2013, Gen-i reported operating revenue of NZ$1.26 billion. Samsung has projected a profit of $9.4 billion for the third quarter alone.