Mobile device manufacturers are taking note of the growing bring-your-own-device trend and remote workforce by making significant improvements in enterprise mobile device management, as seen with Apple's iOS 7 and Google's Android platform. However, these solutions are not as comprehensive as ones offered by more established MDM vendors.
Focusing on mobile device management
Samsung - the leading provider in Android phones with more than 60 percent of the market - is focusing heavily on enterprise-friendly, enhanced security safeguards such as Knox, a containerization technology for the company's more costly devices, according to CIO contributor Tom Kaneshige.
Major gains in mobile technology has made anything possible, noted Kaneshige, especially since a year ago the prospect of Android leveling the playing field or even surpassing Apple in enterprise security was unfathomable.
The open-source nature of Android provides developers with more access to its operating system, allowing for greater security than what is possible with Apple devices. With this access, developers are able to create security extensions through applications, like Knox. Specifically, Knox is a secure container for work apps, separate from personal ones.
"When Samsung unveiled Knox earlier this year, it became a serious mobile security player in the eyes of many CIOs and put Samsung ahead of Apple in the courtship of enterprises," Kaneshige wrote. "After all, containerization appears to be the way mobile security is heading; Apple later built containerization into iOS 7."
Mobile security has become a top priority for smartphone manufacturers as bring your own device continues to infuse with daily business operations, as well as support a growing mobile workforce.
While Knox is only compatible with select Samsung models including Galaxy S4 and Note 3, containerization technology allows developers to disable the screen capture and copy-paste abilities for specific apps, which is not yet possible for Apple devices.
BYOD meets COPE
While BYOD has received most of the attention over the last few years, a new mobile trend might be ready to steal some of the limelight. Company-owned-personally-enabled devices, or COPE, would empower businesses and IT to provide company-issued phones equipped with Knox, which could keep employees satisfied by offering a popular consumer smartphone.
Not quite there yet
The development of such extensions appear to be the future of mobile security, but currently, Knox is only compatible with a limited number of apps in Google's Play Store and not all carriers support it. Although Knox was announced back in February, a recent InfoWorld article highlights that the security feature does not "fully exist," at least not until later this year.
MDM solutions offered by tech giants and open-source developers have a long way to go before they can match up to more comprehensive and widely compatible solutions offered by managed service providers, but these renewed efforts show the growing importance and demand for mobile security in the workplace.