MWC 2013: Samsung's Knox system takes BYOD fight to BlackBerry

Samsung hopes to attract more enterprise customers through the introduction of a new containerised security system called Knox for some of its Android-powered Galaxy smartphones.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

Samsung will focus on signing up more enterprise customers for its Android-based smartphones with a new security system called Knox.

The South Korean handset manufacturer announced the security service at Mobile World Congress on Monday in response to the growing trend for employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work.

"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 a the benefits that come with a happy workforce," Simon Stanford, vice president of IM division at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, said in a statement.

To achieve a similar end as BlackBerry's balance system, Knox allows IT admins to keep employees' personal and work data completely separate by operating at the application layer level. Samsung said keeping the information separate helped mitigate the threat of data leakage, viruses and malware attacks.

The system, which incorporates an enhanced security version of Android developed by the National Security Agency (NSA), also supports integrity management services on a hardware and Android OS level. It will also play nicely with existing MDM, VPN and directory services, Samsung added.

"Easily accessible via an icon on the home screen, the Knox container offers a variety of enterprise applications in a secure environment, including email, browser, contacts, calendars, file sharing, collaboration, CRM and business intelligence applications," Samsung said in a statement.

Knox also enables existing Android ecosystem applications to achieve enterprise integration and validation automatically without needing to change the application source code.

The decision to focus on the enterprise will likely come as a worry for BlackBerry given Samsung's success with key members of Galaxy smartphone family.

Knox will be available on selected Samsung Galaxy devices in the UK "later this year", according to the company.

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