Samsung Knox Brings BYOD Security To Android Devices

Introduced at Mobile World Congress 2013 Monday, Samsung's Knox is designed to provide security and mobile device management services for Android devices, particularly those personal smartphones and tablets that employees are using in the workplace. Knox's key feature is its ability to separate business and personal use of a mobile device at the application layer, much like BlackBerry 10's Balance.

According to Samsung, Knox incorporates the Security Enhanced (SE) Android version of the popular OS developed by the U.S. National Security Agency. The service uses file system-level encryption to protect business data and applications from data leakage and malware.

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Samsung said Knox is compatible with "existing common enterprise infrastructure" such as mobile device management software, VPNs and directory services. The South Korean tech giant is aiming Knox at enterprises with BYOD strategies that are looking for extra layers of security and privacy protection.

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

In addition, Knox allows Android applications to automatically receive enterprise integration and validation without changing the application's source code. Therefore, Android developers don't have to worry about adding individual enterprise features such as single sign-on, Active Directory support and on-device encryption to their applications. Samsung also said the Knox container is accessible to users via a home screen icon and offers users a variety of enterprise applications.

Samsung said Knox will be available on select Galaxy devices in the second quarter but didn't specify whether those Galaxy devices will be smartphones, tablets or both.