AT&T (NYSE:T) is working with an enterprise device management software maker to create AT&T Toggle, a software application that separates sensitive corporate data from personal data for employees using Android smartphones or tablets for work and play.
Toggle is based on software developed by startup Enterproid, which just banked $11 million in funding led by Comcast Ventures with participation from Google Ventures and Qualcomm.
Enterproid's Divide application lets users keep corporate data locked up within the professional profile, which provides data encryption and access control for email, the Web browser, instant messaging and SMS.
This "work" side will safeguard sensitive data generated by customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource management (ERM) applications, and keep those activities separate from personal tasks, such as sending text messages to friends, watching movies, and playing games on a user's smartphone or tablet.
Users can simply tap a button to "toggle" between their professional and personal profiles. Hence the brand -- Toggle -- AT&T chose for the service.
Companies will pay to license the app and provision to to an employee, who can download Toggle from the Android Market.
AT&T's play here is rooted in the emerging theme of BYOD, which stands for "bring your own device." As the phrase implies, it sums up the practice of a corporate employee bringing in his or her own handset or tablet, such as an Android-based Motorola Droid X, or an Apple iPad, to use for work purposes.
Forrester Research estimated that roughly 60 percent of companies allow their workers to use personal handsets and tablets for work. Moreover, they provide IT support for many of those devices.
While BYOD can save companies the costs of procuring devices for hundreds or thousands of employees, it can also spark security concerns for IT administrators charge with protecting corporate data.
To that end, IT administrators can use Toggle to manage which employees have access to which company applications; add or delete sensitive business apps on smartphones or tablets; and conduct remote wipe on those gadgets in the event and employee quits, is terminated, or simply loses his or her device.
AT&T Toggle, which will work on Android phones or tablets running Android 2.2 and higher, is expected to launch before the end of the year.
One key differentiator is that Toggle won't be exclusive to AT&T. Enterproid CEO Andrew Toy told eWEEK AT&T will make Toggle solution will be available on handsets and tablets from Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile as well.
"While it's a little non-traditional for a carrier to do this, they are absolutely going to support people bringing in devices from any carrier," Toy said.