AT&T has made improvements to Toggle, a cloud-based service it offers to business customers, which then extend it to employees, as part of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs.
Still, Toggle is carrier-agnostic—employees can use it via whatever service plan they have. It's available for Android, iOS and "other platforms," for download in the expected app stores.
With Toggle, a separate business phone number can be added to an employee's phone. And in the United States, split billing is available, so a company can pay for business-related data, calling or messaging expenses. For those on AT&T Mobile Share or Share Value plans, Toggle Data packages are also available.
Once it's installed, IT departments also have a way to remotely manage work-related functionalities.
Improvements to Toggle range from added security to convenience.
— There are now Toggle App Ecosystem applications. These offer an added layer of protection, per AT&T, to employee-owned devices. Users get a "familiar and easy solution for sharing and storing information in the cloud," and employers get increased network protection.
— Box is a new application "wrapped in AT&T Toggle." Content placed in it can be securely but easily accessed, offering teams a way to collaborate on sensitive documents.
—Employees (with IT's blessing) now have the option to switch between personal and work modes without entering a PIN.
— Toggle is now certified under the U.S. government security standard Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Publication 140-2. AT&T also added the option of Juniper Networks SA Series SSL VPN to its portfolio of VPN options.
— The "My Location" feature can now be set up on more than one device associated with the same Toggle number, aiding emergency response teams in finding a caller's location, should an emergency 911 call be placed.
The mobile industry has no shortage of solutions that "sandbox" content, creating a safe-haven for sensitive information, and there are software and hardware vendors that offer separate personal and corporate information. Over the years, Nokia, for example, has done this via software as well as via dual-SIM card solutions.
Samsung offers Knox, a sandbox-based security solution, which Google recently announced it will use to improve the security of Android—and that BlackBerry, which has a Balance feature in its OS that neatly separates personal from work content, recently pushed back against.
Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, said AT&T has plenty of competition from well-established players like Good, MobileIron and Airwatch, which specialize in cross-platform mobile-device management and security.
That said, Dawson acknowledged that AT&T has made strides since its earliest sandbox offering.
"It used to be just a dual-persona solution, but it does more now, including split billing for personal and business use—which is something only a carrier can do," Dawson told eWEEK.
Plus, its management solution supports iOS and Android, "something else a single-vendor solution like Samsung Knox doesn't offer," he said.