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Enterproid 'divides' work and play on Android phones

Nancy Gohring | Feb. 28, 2011
It's a conundrum facing many of today's workers: how to carry the latest and greatest smartphone with fun, personal apps and securely access corporate data from the same device.

IT administrators can also set policies from a management console, including screen lock and password requirements and which applications are permitted in the corporate profile. They can also set a customized skin, or background, for the enterprise profile and prohibit downloading applications from the Android Market to that profile.

They can also set more sophisticated rules. For example, if an IT manager worries about potential security issues with a particular app, the manager can forbid the user from accessing any corporate data while that application is running.

IT managers should be comfortable with using a hosted management tool, because corporate data doesn't actually flow through Enterproid, Toy said. "We don't route data through our data center," he said. "We are a management system, and the actual data transport is done by ActiveSync." Any corporate mail service that uses ActiveSync is compatible with Enterproid's system.

Enterproid is also offering management tools for individual users. Users can log into their own management console, where they can access various functions, including locating the phone if it is lost. By default, the IT manager cannot access the location of the device. A user must permit that, he said.

Also, by default, IT can only wipe corporate data and cannot wipe personal data from the device. Individuals may remotely wipe their data, however, from their management consoles.

Enterproid is allowing individuals and businesses to sign up for the service. During the beta period, the service is free. Final pricing hasn't been set, but it will be priced like a service rather than sold as a piece of software.

To try out the service, people can sign up on the Enterproid site for an invitation. Once they get an invitation, they download an application to their phone over the air and enter their corporate credentials to get started. The Divide application is a couple of megabytes in size, and all the existing apps amount to about 20MB, he said.

Enterproid plans to release an SDK (software development kit) so that third parties, such as developers in an enterprise, can build their own encrypted apps for the system. Enterproid also hopes to expand its platform to be compatible with Apple iPhones and Microsoft Windows Phone devices.

There are other attempts at partitioning work and personal activities on mobile phones. VMWare this month demonstrated a virtualization platform that enables two profiles on an Android phone. It's product has been criticized by some because it runs two full versions of the Android operating system, which they say can slow down the phone.

Open Kernel Labs has yet another approach. It is offering tools that let applications run in their own virtual machines. This isolates the application, so any attack targeting Android wouldn't be able to access the application.

 

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