Samsung, Centrify step up partnership on Knox enterprise mobility management

Centrify will be the identity and access management provider in the background for Samsung's Knox EMM, which aims to make Android more enterprise ready and turn back IBM and Apple.

Samsung is beefing up its Knox Enterprise Mobility Management service by expanding its partnership with Centrify, which offers cloud identity and access management tools.

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Under the partnership, Centrify will be the identity and access management provider in the background for Samsung's Knox EMM. Samsung will embed its EMM on its devices and offer a subscription that Centrify and the electronics company will split. Centrify gets a royalty fee for every device with Knox EMM on it as well as a slice of a subscription fee of $4 a month per user, said Shreyas Sadalgi, senior vice president of business development at Centrify.

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According to Sadalgi, the Centrify-Samsung tag team plans to leapfrog IBM and Apple as well as mobility management rollups from Microsoft and VMware by embedding enterprise tools directly on Samsung devices.

Centrify and Samsung have been partners on the enterprise mobility front and have spent 2014 rounding out their joint offerings. The main ambition for Samsung, which has a large B2B unit, is to make Android more secure and enterprise ready. To that end, Samsung has added its Knox technology to the Android code base.

"Android has had a security issue, but what Samsung has done by contributing to Android has moved it forward in the enterprise," said Sadalgi, who added that the next release of Android will be secure at the base.

There's an increased sense of urgency around the Samsung EMM efforts given IBM's partnership with Apple. If IBM sells and supports Apple's iPad and iPhone devices, iOS could continue its enterprise lead over Android. As part of the Apple partnership, IBM's EMM product line, notably FiberLink's MaaS360, will be preferred and potentially limit the ambitions of both Centrify and Samsung.

knox emm

Sadalgi argued that the IBM and Apple partnership is more about selling hardware than managing apps and cloud tools. "There's a lot of friction for users to access applications. End-users have to prove over and over again who they are for each app," he said.

Samsung's Knox EMM plan is to offer it as a cloud service available on Galaxy devices and largely for free. Knox EMM will also be available to manage Apple iOS and non-Samsung Android devices.

In addition, Samsung is pitching both enterprise technology managers as well as end users. Knox EMM provides end users 1-click access to cloud service and mobile applications while giving enterprises account control, app management and better visibility.