A fight has been brewing between IT departments and smartphone users all over the world. While many of these users want to use their own smartphones at work, a phenomenon known as ‘bring your own device’ or BYOD for short; many IT departments have chosen to reject this practice due to security concerns.
Samsung, the largest producer of smartphones in the world, is hoping that their new technology known as ‘Knox’ will address these security concerns and give smartphone users the chance to bring their own devices to use at work.
This article will explain what Knox is, how it works, how it addresses security concerns, and the implications it may have on IT security.
How Knox works
Knox is a new type of mobile security system designed to work with the enterprise servers used in most workplaces.
Named after the famous Army outpost ‘Fort Knox’, Knox separates a phone into two separate environments – one for personal use and another for business use.
In the personal side, users can tweak settings, install apps and load whichever games they like. However, users will be unable to install apps and change settings in the business side of the phone. This side is controlled by the IT department who can implement strict security policies and controls as necessary.
Knox keeps the two sides of the phone completely separated from each other. Users will be unable to move data from one side to the other. Not even copy and paste will work. This means that the business side of the phone will be kept protected and secure at all times, even if the personal side of the phone is compromised by viruses or malware.
Knox user interface
Switching between the personal side of the phone and the business side is easy.
Knox adds a small icon on the bottom left hand of the screen. When in the business side, this icon will be marked as ‘Personal’. In the personal side, this icon will be marked as ‘Business’. Users simply need to tap this icon to switch between the business and personal sides of the phone. Switching between the two sides of the phone happens instantaneously.
Each side of the phone will have its own apps, contact data, email data, and more that can only be accessed on that particular side of the phone.
Implications on IT security
The main argument made by IT departments against BYOD is that it is too difficult to keep a personal device safe and secure against attacks, viruses and malware. Knox effectively destroys this argument.
With Knox, IT departments will be able to implement strict security protocols on personal phones without compromising the device’s functionality. This will allow smartphone users to use their own phones at work without fear of compromising network security: they will be able to choose which device to use in the workplace instead of being forced to use the one given to them by their employers.
In the long run, Knox will lead to better mobile security overall. At the moment, a number of smartphone users have started to use their own smartphones at work, regardless of whether the phone is secure or not. This has led to many networks being compromised. With Knox, IT departments will be able to work with smartphone users to ensure that their smartphones are secure leading to happier smartphone users, happier IT departments, and better network security.
Samsung’s Knox technology will allow BYOD to flourish in the work place. While BYOD has been dismissed in the past due to security concerns, Knox will remove these concerns once and for all and allow IT departments to implement strict security protocols on a user’s phone without compromising its functionality. In the long run, this will lead to happier employees, happier IT departments, and better mobile security in the workplace.