Samsung is out with version 2.0 of Knox, its secure mobile platform for "bring your own device" (BYOD) companies. The solution is currently available only for the Galaxy S5 handset, although the company said it will be making 2.0 available on other Galaxy models via updates to the operating system.
Knox uses a security -hardened version of Android, and provides a container to separate work files and apps from personal ones. It comes pre-installed on the S5, and IT departments will need to activate it if they want to use it.
The company also noted that Knox, first launched in 2013, has now been broken up into several products. The original Knox, which consisted of a core security platform and an app container, is now named Knox Workspace.
Knox 2.0, announced in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, includes that Workspace, as well as Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), Marketplace and Customization. EMM offers cloud-based mobile device management and identity/access management with single sign-on and Directory service. There is also certificate management, so the smartphone can be used as a smartcard.
Marketplace is a shop for Knox and enterprise cloud apps, and Customization offers ways to create customized B2B solutions using off-the-shelf hardware, either through an SDK or Binary to Systems Integrators.
The newest Workspace offers security enhancements, including TrustZone-Protected Certificate Management, Knox Key Store, Real-Time Protection for System Integrity, TrustZone-Protected ODE, Two-factor Biometric Authentication and the Enhanced Generic Framework of Knox.
JK Shin, President and CEO of Samsung's IT and Mobile Communications Division, said in a statement that, "as a result of [Knox 1.0's] rapid adoption, we needed to evolve the Samsung Knox platform to directly address the ever-changing needs of the enterprise."
The company also said the user experience has been enhanced to offer new features designed to improve flexibility for enterprises. These include support for all Android apps in Google Play Store, so IT departments do not need to worry about app-wrapping third-party apps. There is also revised policy control, so that a user or an IT manager can choose the preferred container among third-party providers.
Split-billing is now available for separate calculation of bills for personal use and for professional use, and the user enrollment process has been simplified. Cost of the Knox 2.0 service is $3.60 per user monthly, with volume discounts available.
Charles King, an analyst with industry research firm Pund-IT, told us that Samsung's rollout of Knox falls into that category of a product "where you make some assumptions, and then, after it's been out for a while, go back" and refine it.
He said this kind of "BYOD product with separate personalities, which has been tried by others [such as BlackBerry]," will ultimately depend on whether employees are prepared to keep their personal and business apps and files separate.