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.
Enterproid, which is broadening its beta this week and introducing itself as a company, has a new take on solving the problem.
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"All the solutions today are compromises between security and management by the company and freedom by the user," said Andrew Toy, CEO and co-founder of Enterproid. A worker might be forced to use an unappealing phone at the office and so decide to carry two devices, one for personal use and another for work. Or a company might take some risks by allowing users to access corporate data from a less secure device.
Enterproid joins a few other companies trying to figure out an elegant way to separate work from play on a single Android-based phone.
It does so by building a special enterprise section in the phone, made up of Enterproid's platform software and its own email, calendar, contacts, messaging, and browser apps that can securely access corporate data. The apps are based on Android tools but have "business-class extensions," Toy said.
For example, all corporate data is encrypted on the device, he said. Also, the apps use a proprietary set of permissions, so no standard application can request or access any data in the Enterproid apps.
The Enterproid apps are only available in the enterprise section of the phone, which appears to the user as a separate home screen. Enterproid calls its platform "Divide," because it creates separate profiles for personal and professional use on each device.
That means an enterprise can force users to input a password to open the professional profile, which would make it harder for someone who steals the phone to get at corporate data. The user can opt not to use a password to access the personal profile.
The two profiles are "partially aware of each other," Toy said. If a user is looking at the personal profile, the user will see an alert in the Android notification panel that new messages have arrived in the email box of their work profile. Users can move between the profiles in several ways, including double-clicking on the home button.
IT departments can remotely manage the professional profile of the device using tools hosted by Enterproid. An IT manager can see information about voice, data and SMS use and see how that use is split between the personal and private profiles.
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.