One of the welcome surprises that came out of last month’s BlackBerry 10 announcements was how the company had embraced the enterprise need for a scalable, secure BYOD management solution. BlackBerry rose to the occasion with the launch of the BlackBerry Balance product – an ecosystem of separation of work and personal data, apps, and management that has raised quite a bit of intrigue. One of the most interested sectors had to be government, where RIM, now BlackBerry, enjoyed a unique position based on its functional management and security features in its day. Given BlackBerry and all its well-known challenges, this could have been the life ring BlackBerry has been looking for. Today an announcement from Samsung and Centrify may have dealt a serious blow to BlackBerry’s ambitions of secure enterprise device management.
Samsung provides one of the leading smartphone and tablet platforms in the world. Their devices are wildly popular, based on Android, and consistently beating Apple’s platform worldwide while running a close second here domestically. One of their challenges has always been the enterprise, thus the rise of BYOD, followed by a plethora of nifty solutions. Enter Centrify. The announcement heralds the arrival of a solution that addresses not only BYOD capabilities, but enhanced security options on a leading platform. Samsung KNOX is this next generation solution, it licenses Centrify’s technologies in a single enterprise-worthy package.
“Through this OEM software license and marketing agreement, Centrify will enable both multi-application SSO for mobile and web apps and Group Policy-based management of Samsung’s new platform and devices. The end result is that customers can use an existing infrastructure — Microsoft Active Directory — to manage Samsung devices and this new platform’s container-based technology, as well as enable mobile single sign-on for applications inside the container. The Centrify and Samsung partnership also includes re-sale of Centrify premium mobile and SaaS Single Sign-on offerings via Samsung partners, as well as joint marketing to Samsung customers and partners.”
Similar to the BlackBerry solution, the announced KNOX product allows for two separate worlds on one device. That is about where the similarities end. Centrify’s technology allows for management of the work space through containers in your company’s Active Directory. If features extensive Mobile features, including direct Office 365 and Exchange 2010, ActiveSync, iOS management, and the ability to completely control Samsung device settings, it is basically an enterprise IT dream. Furthermore, the Centrify technology enables Single Sign-On (SSO) technology for authentication purposes. With mobile and web apps utilizing SSO, authenticating to a company’s Active Directory infrastructure makes for a seamless yet secure user experience. Throughout the user never loses any privacy, or personal aspect of their devices capabilities and functionality.
The introduction of a certifiable, manageable, secure single sign-on technologies on a leading device platform is something that is going to have mass appeal to the enterprise. Samsung has made an incredible inroad proposition here into the enterprise market with an alliance and technology like no other. It appears that BlackBerry’s solution will be effectively blocked out by a more enterprise worthy solution backed by a dominant competitor. It also means that other manufacturers of mobile devices are left behind in the enterprise market without offering a complete BYOD offering integrated with their products. This is a brilliant move for Samsung, and a phenomenally important development for Centrify in the mobile enterprise market.