Samsung trisects Knox, launches entry-level free version

Samsung will launch its Knox security platform for free globally via Google Play for Galaxy S5 users on Thursday, ZDNet Korea's Cho Mu-hyun exclusively reports.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the Korean electronics giant has modified its business-to-business (B2B) Knox platform to three different versions — My Knox, Knox Express, and Knox Premium — with the new My Knox entry-level, personal version to be available for free on Google's app store.

Samsung is expected to make the official announcement on Thursday, 9am US Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), and to deploy the new versions of Knox shortly thereafter.

The personal version is available at Google Play for Galaxy S5 users, but sources say availability may be expanded in the future. 

My Knox, available through Google Play, allows personal users to use for the first time a basic work/personal mode and other rudimentary features of the original version. If they lose the device, they can go to a new web page expected to be at, and use features such as Locate Device, Lock Device, and Wipe Device to protect their data.

"Samsung decided to make Knox available to the public at large because it realised that mobile security is an issue that concerns not only businesses, but personal users these days," said one of the sources.

"Having a personal version also allows business clients to more flexibly implement either BYOD [bring your own device] or CYOD [choose your own device] policy, while personal users themselves can more easily comply to company security rules and choosing their own device at the same time," said the source.

Knox Express, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses with a workforce of no more than 250, will also be free, but available only directly at the Samsung Knox homepage. IT managers can set over 150 policies, or configure employee devices to particular settings, such as blocking the use of the camera or automatic sign-on for either work or personal mode for certain apps and websites. It retains most of the original version of Knox's features.

Knox Premium, an upgraded version of the original Knox, according to sources, is for businesses and supports over 200 policies that IT managers can configure. Features include blacklisting, whitelisting, and identity management, among others. Unlike the other two versions, it is available through Samsung's resellers and marketplace, with pricing expected to be only $1 per month.

Knox Express and Knox Premium can be used in iOS, with all security policy implementable except that users won't be able to switch the device between work and personal modes.

"Samsung will earn directly from selling Samsung-made smart devices to Knox Premium customers," said another source.

All three versions support mobile device management (MDM) and Samsung's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).