Samsung, Centrify Tackle BYOD Security With Knox: MWC

Knox retains full compatibility with Android and the Google ecosystem while incorporating security and management enhancements.

BARCELONA, Spain — It isn't all about flashy hardware and stunning screens at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC) conference, with Samsung announcing the launch of Knox, a Google Android-based solution designed from the ground up with security in mind to address advanced security requirements for the Android platform and bring your own device (BYOD) environments.

Through the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) software license and marketing agreement, Centrify will enable multi-application single-sign-on (SSO) for mobile and Web apps inside the Samsung Knox container, allowing customers to use their existing infrastructure—Microsoft Active Directory (AD)—to manage Knox containers, Samsung devices and role-based access to mobile applications.

Knox retains full compatibility with Android and the Google ecosystem while incorporating security and management enhancements, including container technology that with one-click securely separates personal data on the device from corporate data and apps. Centrify and Samsung Knox are attempting to address one of the key concerns regarding the BYOD phenomena—how users separate work and personal spaces on mobile devices.

Samsung chose Centrify for its skill in integrating Active Directory with data center, cloud and mobile resources, and also because the company "uniquely deliver[s] both mobile authentication and AD-based policy management of virtual containers in a single solution," Injong Rhee, Samsung Electronics senior vice president of business to business research and development, said in a statement. "The end result of this partnership is that consumers not only get the right mobile solution for work and play and the productivity gains of having one-click sign-on to their enterprise apps, but enterprise IT also leverages existing tools and skill sets to securely manage users' work containers while knowing there is a clean separation of enterprise and personal data."

Accessible through an icon on the home screen, the Knox container presents to users a variety of enterprise applications (including email, browser, contacts, calendars, file-sharing, collaboration, CRM and business intelligence apps) in a secure environment. The platform enables existing Android ecosystem applications to automatically gain enterprise integration and validated security with zero change to the application source code.

The company said Knox would be commercially available in selected Samsung Galaxy devices starting in the second quarter.

"Security and privacy are understandably held up as barriers to businesses embracing BYOD demands. Meanwhile, users are seeing the latest smartphone and tablets and knocking at the door of IT demanding to be able to use their own devices," JK Shin, president of Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a statement. "The solution is clear—combine the business and personal in a single device. Knox achieves this harmony between enterprise control and employee satisfaction by delivering fundamental security at the platform level, while leaving the user experience consistent."

The Centrify and Samsung partnership also includes the resale of Centrify premium mobile and software as a service (SaaS) single-sign-on offerings via Samsung partners, as well as joint marketing to Samsung customers and partners. The Centrify technology Samsung is embedding into its Knox solution is also generally available as part of Centrify's latest cloud services release, Centrify for Mobile 2013, also announced at MWC.