Mobile data separation solutions are often used by enterprise mobility managers to put a firewall between employees’ work and personal usage of corporate mobile devices. Sometimes referred to as secure “containers,” these solutions aim to deliver the right balance of employee productivity and enterprise security, but too often they are cumbersome to manage and obstruct productivity by requiring users to learn a new UI.

To address this, Samsung has placed heavy emphasis on easy management and intuitive user experience in developing our Knox Workspace solution. Before I discuss some of the key differentiators in our data separation approach, let’s first look at the main scenarios where data separation is being deployed on mobile devices.

Separating Data or Locking Down the Device?

A typical scenario that calls for keeping personal and business data separate is when an organization provides its employees with a corporate-owned device and allows for both personal and work use. With containerization, an employee can use this phone like any other smartphone, but it also includes a secure work container to protect corporate data.

Some organizations — especially those in regulated industries like healthcare, financial services and government where data security is imperative — might want their employees to boot up into a secure corporate workspace, with no provision for a personal workspace. Such security was a selling point for legacy BlackBerry devices over the years. As a result of a number of recent enhancements, you can now provision Samsung Galaxy devices to boot straight into a secure Knox Workspace, filling that gap in capabilities for organizations migrating to Android devices.

For some organizations, there are also hybrid scenarios in which a subset of users or an entire department are able to store both work and personal data on their devices, while other users or departments receive locked-down smartphones that only boot to a secure corporate workspace. These user group management capabilities are also available with Knox Workspace.

Workspaces in Action

When you’re using a device that includes both corporate and personal workspaces, the user experience must be seamless despite the separation of data. One of the key differentiators of Knox Workspace is that we’ve ensured the same native UI experience across key productivity applications, including the email client, calendar, contacts and internet browser. Regardless of whether the user is launching from inside Knox Workspace or outside, they get the same seamless Galaxy experience.

Tight integration of contacts and calendars is also essential. For example, when you get a call from a business contact, you should still see the caller ID information even though the contact resides in a contact app in the corporate workspace. Similarly, although users won’t be able to sync company contacts to their personal Gmail account, switching back and forth should cause no disruption on the device.

Users have the option to see contacts and calendar events from both personal and work spaces in a unified view. They can also toggle back and forth between work and personal views of their calendar and contacts, while still enjoying seamless security and employee privacy.

Providing Easy Access to the Secure Workspace

Providing quick and easy access to the secure workspace is also critical to usability. There are two options available for displaying the Knox Workspace container to end users:

  • Traditional view, which allows you to go into an actual launcher mode that switches you to an entirely different view, including different wallpaper, apps and widgets
  • Folder view, which allows you to click on the Knox Workspace icon and access your apps seamlessly, with the look and feel rendering as an app folder

Ease of Management

Data separation solutions also need to be easy to manage for the IT or enterprise mobility manager. Knox Workspace integrates closely with all the major MDM solutions and supports over 600 IT policies, providing the admin with granular control to remotely configure the secure data container.

App deployment is simplified. A full set of secure, enterprise productivity apps are preloaded within the workspace, including contacts, calendar, email and browser. The admin can easily push apps to targeted user groups — whether custom-built enterprise applications, bulk purchased off-the-shelf apps or free productivity applications. They can also whitelist apps for the user to download from Google Play for Work.

A key differentiator here is that with Knox Workspace, no “app wrapping” or other special treatment is required for applications to be run inside the container. This approach can be a significant saver in terms of time and investment.

Data Separation: Good for Employer and Employee

With all the talk about work/life balance and security in the press, data separation — when done right —offers organizations and their employees the best of both worlds. Employee productivity is good for the employer, and employees also benefit from receiving a private, secure mobile experience just like on their personal smartphones, simplifying their lives by enabling them to leave their own phones at home and rely on their work phones as their primary devices.

With the workforce becoming increasingly mobile, having a mobile security plan in place is crucial to ensuring the safety of your data.

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Ram Motipally

Ram is the senior director for Knox solutions and EMM partnerships at Samsung Electronics America. With over 18 years in the mobile and enterprise software space, Ram is passionate about the power of effectively managed mobile technology to help organizations boost productivity. He was one of the original members of Samsung’s Knox team formed in 2012 and helped build and implement the Go-To-Market Strategy. An engineer with an MBA specializing in marketing, Ram previously worked at Sasken and Persistent Systems.

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