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Strictly Business: Different Approaches To Separating Work and Personal Communications

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

By Ashish Jain on April 7, 2015

It was hard to miss the commotion stirred up last month regarding former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s email scandal, if we can even call it a scandal. I stay out of political discussions, but in this column am citing this example as one which illustrates the advantages of carrying one phone – with a secure “firewall” between business and personal messaging.


We are all balancing our work lives and personal lives, and for those of us who are passionate about what we do, as I am, the blur can be constant and challenging. With two young boys, and an entrepreneurial wife, the last thing I need is more than one smartphone and so I have learned to manage my various streams in support of that convenience! That’s just the end user perspective, my personal end user perspective. From the IT team’s point of view, there are layers upon layers of challenges to take into consideration as part of a robust mobile device and mobile application security policy.

The continued growth of enterprise mobility, driven by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, is only getting more interesting and complicated with next-generation platforms and applications being added to meet the rising demand of next-generation workers. Add to this the phenomenal growth of smartphone and tablets, and the shifting popularity of different BYOD device brands and types, including changes to operating systems, and you can understand why enterprises are constantly revisiting their policies and strategies. According to a recent report from IDG, nearly 80 percent of the 236.4 million smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2013 were Android™-based devices. After grappling for years with the demand for iPhone support, now IT teams are also investing more and more in Android support, making some wonder if BYOD will even work anymore? Why not provision smartphones instead of desk phones, with soft clients that work on all IP endpoints?

The answer is still the same – economics. When employees can use their personal mobile devices to access corporate resources and get work done, enterprises and businesses are freed up from having to pay for and manage those devices. This is why software is so key – in the device, and in the network.

After a quick study of “separation anxiety,” I thought I’d share a few examples of solutions that are taking off in the business world.

BlackBerry & Morvirtu: Virtual SIM

Last year, Blackberry acquired SIM developer Movirtu, a company that developed technology enabling users have multiple numbers active on a single device. Movirtu CEO Carsten Brinkschulte explained at the time that his company’s goal was to create virtual identities on smart devices, allowing the same device to operate under two different accounts. In a post on the Inside BlackBerry Business Blog, Brinkschulte said:

“Enterprise customers will now be able to provision a single device for corporate and personal use; allow discrete enterprise policies to be applied to only the work side of the device, while allowing full usability of the personal portion of the device; split bills for voice, data and messaging; and provide the ability to switch between profiles easily.”

BlackBerry notes that a ruling in California now requires companies to reimburse employees for data and call charges that an employee incurs while using their own smart devices for work use. The solution being considered by BlackBerry and Movirtu would make this much easier on a practical level.


Morvirtu’s User Experience

Looking at iPhone, the iTunes store has a number of applications users can download – each with a slightly different approach, but all promising to help separate messages and in some cases directories to keep the “Strictly Business” communications just that.  Here are three examples:

Business Call


Business Call “installs in seconds and offers two distinct calling experiences; one for your personal calls and one for your business calls. Business Call lets you choose a phone number from your town or you can select one from any place in the country. Plus, we allow you to port an existing mobile number to Business Call for free. It’s your choice.” (Business Call is powered by GENBAND’s Kandy). 


Good Technology has an end-to-end portfolio of enterprise mobility solutions that include MDM and app containerization, including separation of business and personal communications, controlled as much by the Enterprise IT policy as the end user. They claim over 6,000 customers


Good Connect’s login experience.


“Divide delivers the ultimate mobile productivity tool to get work done securely on your iPhone or iPad. Check your work email, view your calendar, look up contacts and more, all in one encrypted workspace without worrying about your privacy or the threat of your company wiping your device. Divide syncs with Exchange ActiveSync, Google Apps, and Lotus Notes and offers a complete BYOD solution for individuals and IT.” Google liked them so much – they acquired the company last year as part of their larger march into the Enterprise real-time communications space.


Divide’s “workspace” application. 

Samsung KNOX

Finally, Samsung has been getting more and more traction with their Knox solution. Now on version 2.0, KNOX Workspace “improves the user experience, providing security for enterprise data by creating a secure zone in the employee’s device for corporate applications, and encrypting enterprise data both at rest and in motion. KNOX Workspace container provides users with an isolated and secure environment within the mobile device, complete with its own home screen, launcher, applications and widgets for easier, more intuitive and safe operation. Applications and data inside the container are separated from applications outside the container.


Samsung’s Knox Approach; Enhancements with 2.0

We are still at the very beginning of this market, and with the rise of not just BYOD – but BYOT (bring your own technology) – it’s going to get even more interesting. Check out, for example, this chart from Frost & Sullivan:


At GENBAND, we like to think about “BYOE” – Bring Your Own Experience. We are energetically participating in the entire enterprise communications ecosystem and seeing that the dynamics are not single-threaded but rather multi-threaded with cooperation required amongst all the elements of the enterprise real-time communications environments of the future.

While the end-users are certainly driving demands for more innovation, the IT teams and CIOs, CSOs and even CTOs in enterprises are profoundly aware of the requirement to understand and sort through the right paths forward.


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