While users and executives were early advocates of the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, many IT departments resisted the pressure. Now, solutions are emerging to address their primary concern: the loss of visibility and control over corporate data.
For users, the benefits of BYOD have long been clear: they can choose whatever device they like without being restricted to those supported by the company, and can carry just one device for business and personal use. Those same benefits appeal to executives, who also like the cost-savings of not having to fully purchase and support as many smartphones. While cost savings and less support also appeal to the IT professional, who would prefer to dedicate those resources to more strategic business initiatives, the inability to control the dissemination of sensitive corporate data has made this an unattractive trade off – until now.
Containerization technology promises to give IT professionals the control they need over the business data on employee devices to meet corporate security standards and external compliance requirements, while still allowing users the ability to use the device of their choice and keep their personal data secure from prying corporate eyes.
With containerization solutions, a firewall can be erected on a smartphone to create two worlds: personal and business. As part of a mobile device management (MDM) solution, the IT department can access the business partition to ensure business data is secure and is only accessed by authorized applications. On the personal side, employees can run the apps of their choice and know their personal data is protected. Should an employee leave the company or the phone be lost, IT can wipe the business side of corporate data without touching the personal side.
A number of vendors have entered the containerization market with solutions that are either device agnostic or available only for specific smartphones or mobile operating systems.
Secure Work Space is BlackBerry’s solution. Available as part of its BlackBerry Enterprise Services (BES) 10 MDM solution, Secure Work Space is a multi-platform solution that supports iOS and Android handsets as well as BlackBerry 10. On the handset itself, BlackBerry also offers BlackBerry Balance. Users can toggle between the enterprise and personal sides, while still seeing all their communications and events in a central hub.
Samsung has developed Knox for its Android smartphones. It takes the separation a little further with separate contacts and calendars for both sides. While it’s a firmer separation, it could take some flipping back and forth to see if a date on your calendar is really clear, or to remember if a contact is a work or a personal friend. Samsung has also teamed with BlackBerry to ensure Knox is supported by BES.
Google Android has also stepped into the game with Android for Work. It separates business apps from personal apps, and sets up a dedicated work profile for business content that IT can access, while keeping personal photos and emails private on a personal profile.
Which flavour of containerization is right for your business will depend on your specific business needs, and your larger objectives around mobile device management. Trusted service providers such as Rogers can help you evaluate your needs for device-level security as part of your overall BYOD strategy.