Samsung tailors security for enterprise mobility push

South Korean electronics giant aims to win over enterprises concerned with bring-your-own-device trend and Android vulnerabilities by customizing offerings based on vertical-specific workflows.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Samsung first signaled its intentions to make a play in the enterprise mobility space in 2011. One year on, it plans to dispel security concerns over the influx of consumer-grade devices entering the workplace and vulnerabilities on the Android platform by customizing their security offerings according to industry verticals and work processes.

Winston Goh, senior product marketing manager at Samsung Asia, said that contrary to popular belief, Android will be the enterprise platform of choice in the near future. In fact, he predicted that Android might overtake Apple's iOS by end-2012 and cited Avanade's study released this January saying Android is the most popular enterprise operating system (OS).

Goh's prediction was more optimistic than figures based on aggregated findings from research firms such as IDC, Canalys, GfK, and Samsung's internal research. According to the findings, iOS would retain a slender lead of 33 percent market share compared with Android's 29 percent this year. The executive was speaking at a briefing during Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 launch event held here Tuesday.

In terms of whether Samsung's Android-based smartphones will be brought in by workers or deployed by companies, he noted the BYOD trend will outpace that of corporate-initiated devices with 20-plus percent compared with 5 to 10 percent, respectively.

Tapping enterprise mobility opportunity
He did acknowledge that Samsung was not the first brand that would come to mind where enterprise mobility is concerned, and Android OS would similarly not be associated immediately with the trend given its much-publicized security vulnerabilities.

However, the marketing manager was keen to highlight that Samsung is working in parallel to Google's enterprise push to secure the platform and offer more cost-effective offerings to particular industry segments. This is seen in its network of partners which ranges from those in mobile device management (MDM) to security vendors in terms of VPN, he said.

Elaborating, Goh said the Korean electronics giant has been developing four core technology pillars for its mobile security strategy, which includes MDM, VPN connectivity, on-device encryption for MicroSD cards, and an enterprise software development kit (SDK) for companies to expand their tools and policies.

With its partners such as SAP, MobileIron, Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, and F5, among others, Samsung will focus on developing a template based on a "write once, deploy everywhere" concept that zooms in on specific industry workflows. For instance, it created an offering for Singapore-based food & beverage (F&B) outlet Gayatri Restaurant that allows its waiters to take orders using Samsung's mobile devices. This can be replicated for other F&B establishments too, he explained.

Other industry verticals it is looking to tap on include retail, finance, and education although these are still in early discussion stages, the executive revealed.

Besides security concerns to overcome, Goh added for other sectors such as education, or public sector in general, funding for these organizations tend to be harder to come by and every cent invested has to be accounted for. In Singapore, for instance, Samsung is looking to provide a more cost-effective offering for schools to adopt even as they trial the use of mobile devices, he noted.

Similarly, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are also mostly at sea with the rise of BYOD, and the Korean company's focus is to tailor MDM offerings to meet their needs yet not break their financial budgets doing so, he added.

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