Of Enterprise Mobility and How Samsung, Nokia, IBM & Others Stack Up!!

[Editorial notes: Guest author, Manju discusses some of the highlights of his meetings with companies who are plunging deep into Enterprise Mobility and also will discusses some of the highlights of their offerings and how it all fits into the ecosystem.]

Had an interesting week getting to meet the executives at Nokia, Samsung, IBM, KPMG and also Cisco and Infosys all leading some or other initiative of Enterprise mobility.

Samsung: BYOD Efforts

Samsung seems very serious about the Enterprise play and that is where their concentration seems to be. First they came out with SAFE, which is a sort of a checklist on what models, OS and what all vendors/tools can work so that the devices are safe to use in an enterprise. Now they are coming out (should be released soon) KNOX. It basically provides a Linux kernel running below the Android OS and under that is a trust layer, which together can detect if any attempts are made for the integrity of the kernel and can take preventive action and hence providing a safe cushion. Also it has them integrated into MDMs and containerization to enhance the security of the device.

They even have the FIPS certificate done and also supports Single Sign On (SSO) along with separate work spaces for work and personal (dual – persona). I will eagerly waiting to play with one and see how well the safety issues are taken care of. Will be very interesting to see how they stop advanced malwares that are affecting the Android (which can only be detected via network analysis rather than at the device level) as number of malwares have grown more than 600% on Android.

Also, Android has many vulnerabilities, and malwares (spyware, adware, snoopware etc.) can easily take advantage of them and will be interesting to see how that will be dealt. Another major issue will be to see how Android fragmentation will be dealt with. But KNOX from the look of it seems a great first step to make itself enterprise ready. Basing the whole safety measures against Android will also be very tricky and can be like putting those sand bags for flooding river but we need to wait and see.

Nokia: BYOD Efforts

Nokia is not to be left behind and I think they aligning with Windows and taking advantage of windows stack to provide security in the enterprise which will be very handy and am sure will be coming out with such security measures which can compete with Samsung and also with Apple. Just the fact that it is not based on Android will give a head start for it and far more easier to secure than Android based but need to wait and see how will their offerings will be and how well it can stack up against KNOX.

IBM: BYOD Efforts

IBM and its Tivoli reporting including its mobile management is not in the same space as Samsung or Nokia (and hence cannot be compared) but interestingly they have a MDM like offerings which is very well integrated into the Tivoli and be a nice addition to those who are building their offerings over the IBM Stack. I am yet to do an analysis on this and will be doing the same.

What really intrigued me is the 360 degree enterprise mobile solution offered by Infosys and their plans on how to develop customized IP in this space for their enterprise clients and from what I learnt Infosys can make some very good progress in this field.

Let me end up with a nice argument I had with the KPMG person :). KPMG is very strict (form what I heard) on what devices can access what inside its enterprise and they don’t allow BYOD at all and not even email syncing (may be they just allow Blackberry if I recollect right) and they are not just blocked by Mac Ids but also certificates (802.1X authentication). This way they completely block access to BYODs and hence completely safe from any attacks from outside via the BYOD route.

Two things that bothered me, one – how do they prevent if they use VPN tunneling into the network via their devices and second, can this stop even hot spotting. Both the experiments is something I will be doing in our i7 labs soon. But feeling very secure by not allowing BYOD in this “BYOD enabled mobile workforce who care for convenience and productivity and work-life balance” era is like telling that my ships are very safe in the harbor but that is not what they are meant for.

[Guest article contributed by Manjunath M Gowda, CEO, i7 Networks]