One of the major concerns among most (if not all) of the IT organizations has been regarding Android’s weak security, which is the major reason that makes Apple’s iOS and Blackberry more trustworthy devices than Android – for enterprise environments. But with the recent announcement at Google I/O, regarding bringing in new features to the Samsung KNOX security system – now IT organizations can easily deploy as well as manage Android powered devices in enterprise ecosystem. However, the features will come built-in the upcoming Android operating system, called Android ‘L’.
What is KNOX?
Samsung announced the release of KNOX on February 2013. It can be called as an Samsung app that helps in creating a virtual partition ‘a new layer’ on Samsung Android devices that allows to protect the personal as well as corporate applications and data from getting attacked by hackers. The layer is basically another version of your handset that can be accessed only via a password, and hence, limits the way in which the phone is being utilized.
KNOX Contributions to the Android Platform
Thanks to the Samsung KNOX technology, Android will become a recognized name as one of the leaders in the enterprise environment. In order to make more and more enterprises adopt Android, KNOX technology will be made a part of the Android powered devices.
In fact, the new technology will help make it easy for the IT organizations to make the employees follow the BYOD approach (that is they’ll be asked to bring their own devices) to perform the work.
What’s more? Administrators of the technological firms will be able to handle a huge array of Android devices belonging to different manufacturers, with help of the 3rd party Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that will be made available on the top of the latest enterprise APIs built into the Android L release. Both Google as well Samsung together has designed the new enterprise APIs, which is built around three main concepts, such as:
1. Data Separation Technology
New enterprise capabilities have been introduced by skilled Android App Developers in the upcoming Android ‘L’ release along with the set of technologies that helps in keeping the personal as well as corporate data separate and secure.
This sort of data separation is achieved by creating a multi-user support in Android – which makes the personal and corporate apps run as two separate users. The data is secured by utilizing “block-level disk encryption” and the “verified boot technology”.
2. Support for Enforcing Polices
EMMs will be able to use the new Android SDK APIs – which are evolved version of the KNOX APIs. This will help the IT administrators to impose a set of policies including system settings and certificate provisioning and more.
3. Mobile Application Management
EMMs will make use of the new backend APIs (a superset of KNOX APIs) for deploying application on-device. The backend APIs are built around solid security principles and will allow the IT administrators to combine the corporate application catalog, and deploy apps remotely to the managed profile on the employees’ Android device.
Developers interested in using the new Enterprise APIs, will be required to download and test the Android L Developer Preview. The developers who have built some apps using the KNOX APIs, will be provided by a KNOX compatibility library by Samsung. The library will help in running the developed applications on all Android L devices.
What you will need to use Knox?
KNOX is available with the new Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Note 3 “phablet” and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition.
Bear in mind that Knox isn’t pre-installed on your Samsung device, however, there’s a shortcut within the Knox app tray that let you download it for free, as and when required. Furthermore, after installing Knox you’ll be required to set a password. But make sure not to remember the password or you won’t be able to access Knox or uninstall it.
For precautionary measures you’ll be asked to set a backup PIN – that can be used in case you forget the password. Post installation when you need to access Knox, HIT the shortcut option within the app tray or the one given in your handset notification bar.
Android is undoubtedly ruling the smartphone market and its popularity is also increasing drastically. However, one major drawback that doesn’t make Android a perfect choice to be used for the enterprise ecosystem is its weak security.
But with the new Android ‘L’ release a lot of new features will get added to the Samsung Knox app that will improve Android’s security features and make it quite useful to be used in the enterprise environment as well.