Samsung beefs up Knox mobile management software

Move follows Galaxy S5 with fingerprint reader

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BlackBerry was once considered the best management and security resource for enterprises, but its ranking in the smartphone market has fallen even as BlackBerry adds improvements to its BlackBerry Enterprise Service software. Version 12 of BES was announced Tuesday at MWC and is expected to ship later in the year.

Competing with the iPhone in the enterprise

In recent years, Apple has made a strong foray into enterprises, both with iPhones and iPads. Android, while powering up to 80% of smartphones globally, is gaining some ground among enterprise users, but still trails iOS.

Samsung's addition of the fingerprint reader to the new Galaxy S5 also follows the fingerprint sensor added to the iPhone 5S last fall.

According to a recent analysis of 250,000 Android users in businesses, Samsung devices were used by more than half. The analysis used real-time data gathered by Fiberlink Communications, a mobile management and security company purchased by IBM in December. Samsung also dominates all Android smartphone sales globally.

"Android is becoming more of a force in enterprises, and Knox elevates Samsung above the rest of the contenders," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates. "There are many vendors of security solutions for Android, so it remains to be seen just how much of an advantage Knox is."

Knox was hindered because it wasn't previously available for all the Samsung smartphones and tablets that enterprises want to use, Gold said. The added cost for including Knox on top of other EMM solutions that a business might have doesn't help. By comparison, EMM capabilities with iOS don't cost extra, Gold noted.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insight & Strategy, said there's a false impression that Apple's iOS and Android from Samsung will be the choices for IT shops in protecting corporate data in coming years.

"Enterprises don't look to Samsung or Apple to protect their corporate data today. They look to companies like Intel and Microsoft," he said. "I give Samsung a lot of credit for moving the [data protection] conversation along, but I think enterprise IT will wait for Intel."

Moorhead was referring to Intel's announcement at International CES that it would provide hardware and software security and management capabilities called Intel Device Protection Technology. It will work with third-party software or Intel's own security software, formerly called McAfee.

Moorhead estimated that up to 95% of all enterprises run data center applications on Intel servers and Intel-based client devices, which potentially give Intel and Windows a decided advantage over Android and iOS.

This article, Samsung beefs up Knox mobile management software , was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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