Smartphone vendors cater to BYOD trend

IT consumerization and the trend of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs have reached a point where smartphone manufacturers and cellular providers are starting to offer easier ways for their devices to be used as both workplace and personal phones. 

That may be good news for IT departments, many of which have been searching for ways to allow users to bring in their own personal mobile devices without threatening data security, as well as properly compensate employees who use their own cellular plans for work calls and messaging.

One tool that could help is AT&T’s Toggle service, which the carrier recently announced is being updated and expanded for use on iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, in addition to the Android version that’s currently offered.

Toggle 1.0 was first introduced last year as a service for Android phones. It allows users to divide their phones into two separate environments — one for business and one for personal apps and content.

Toggle 2.0 will allow users’ phones to have work and personal modes, which operate on two different cellular accounts. IT departments will be able to set policies for which applications can be accessed while in the workplace mode.

Smartphone manufacturer Samsung is also attempting to use IT consumerization to its advantage by marketing phones with a new product distinction, Samsung Approved For Enterprise (SAFE). The first SAFE-branded phone will be the upcoming Galaxy S III, available from all major U.S. carriers starting next month.

What does SAFE mean? According to Samsung, those devices must meet a set of standards encompassing both security and manageability, including:

  1. Support for mobile device management (MDM) tools that allow IT departments to manage applications, disable features and connections, and enforce configurations
  2. On-device AES-256 bit encryption
  3. The ability to sync email, contacts and calendars through Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and
  4. Support for secure connectivity through a virtual private network (VPN).

As IT consumerization and the adoption of BYOD programs continue gaining steam, it’s likely more device manufacturers and cellular carriers will begin offering products and services specifically for people that plan to use personal devices at work.


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