Samsung & Centrify strike OEM alliance: Big day at MWC, Giant leap for Enterprise Mobility!

Hola from Mobile World Congress Barcelona! Yes, it has been a while since my last post, but hopefully my excuse is a good one – we have been busy “technovating” with one of the largest mobile device vendors over the last two quarters! Today I am thrilled to unveil ourOEM partnership with Samsung that enables new innovative features in mobile security and cloud identity on their next generation mobile enterprise solution — Samsung KNOX.

 Through this blog post, I will cover two topics – the first is take a step back and reflect on the genesis of the Samsung and Centrify alliance; and second is fast forward & play out how this is going to be game changing for the industry and business users’ mobile experience.

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The success of Android among consumers and the developer community has, unfortunately not translated to the enterprise. Several customer and industry analyst surveys have found that fewer than 10% of enterprises planned on deploying Android devices in the next 12 months primarily due to a perceived lack of security and limited management capability. Fueled by customer evidence and market demand, Samsung was inspired to deliver a more robust and secure Android platform that also readily integrates and is manageable by enterprise IT without the need for 3rd party tools. Samsung took a strategic look at the enterprise market and embarked on a mission to create a compelling next generation secure mobile platform for the business, government and other highly regulated enterprise markets. The result is Samsung KNOX.

 Rewind: Genesis of the Centrify-Samsung alliance

 Centrify believes that mobile devices are increasingly becoming the de facto client for user access, so we look at mobility management from the lens of identity, in terms of controlling who can access what (from an IT perspective) and enabling productivity (from an end user perspective). In other words we don’t see ourselves as a traditional MDM vendor per se, but see certain key aspects of enterprise mobile management as very much an extension of identity management.

 Centrify shared this vision with Samsung to enable a seamless end user experience for securely accessing mobile apps inside mobile containers, while at the same time enabling IT to control access, privileges and management of the container. All of this being made possible using existing infrastructurethat IT already runs today – Microsoft Active Directory.  This concept is a powerful driving force that makes it “frictionless” for Samsung to deliver on its enterprise-ready vision.

 Besides sharing a vision, Samsung chose to partner with Centrify for several strategic and technology benefits. The first aspect has to do with Centrify’s “mobile first” technology as it relates to cloud and identity management. SaaS and business application vendors have struggled to create secure mobile clients that are expected to interoperate in a enterprise’s identity provider infrastructure and yet maintain the rich user experience. Centrify was the first to come up with technology to address this need – Centrify Mobile Authentication Service (MAS). Centrify MAS is an “active client” mobile SDK, which mobile app developers can use to quickly build secure, enterprise-ready apps.

 Another key benefit for Samsung is Centrify’s market leadership with a strong presence of over 4500 customers for its unified identity service across data center, mobile and cloud solutions. Centrify also has a strong federal and government presence with over 60 federal agencies as its reputed customers.

 This alliance between Centrify & Samsung also builds a strategic partnership with Microsoft. The combined Centrify and Samsung solution leverages the wide deployment of Microsoft Active Directory, now trusted by over 90% of business organizations as their de facto identity provider infrastructure. With this partnership, enterprises can continue to rely on Active Directory’s strategic importance for managing corporate identities across mobile devices and cloud applications. By having integrated the SAFE SSO API into rich mobile apps likeOnvelop, Centrify can help Microsoft onboard more Office365 customers by enabling a Zero-Sign-On experience on mobile clients for Microsoft cloud applications like Office 365Yammerand Skype.

 Most importantly, as a company with history in creating the best consumer experience, Samsung recognized Centrify’s value in delivering complex and sophisticated technology to the enterprise but doing so in a simple way that is painless and easy to install within five minutes. Centrify really understands enterprise needs and Samsung understands consumer experience – ultimately its why we came together and we believe this is an exciting time for the enterprise!

 Fast forward: Why is this alliance game-changing for businesses and the industry?

 Samsung KNOX powered by Centrify’s AD based container management means organizations will realistically be able to embrace BYOD programs and deliver employees secure mobility. Samsung KNOX enables separate personal and work spaces on a mobile device, IT receives the security and control they require, employees get the privacy and freedom they expect on their personal (BYOD) device.

 From an industry standpoint, it makes the life of Android app developers and SaaS ISVs much more easier to easily build enterprise grade security into their mobile apps, while delivering a smooth 1-click experience to their app users.  Developers can leverage a simple high-level API within the new SAFE enterprise Single-Sign-On (SSO) SDK to obtain security tokens and federate existing corporate identities to their cloud apps. The SAFE SSO SDK is a result of Samsung’s OEM license of Centrify Mobile Authentication Services (MAS) SDK.  ISVs such as BoxCatchDropboxCisco Webex and Onvelop are part of a growing list of ecosystem partners enhancing their apps using the Centrify MAS SDK to support Zero Sign-On inside Samsung KNOX containers.

 Samsung KNOX powered by Centrify’s mobile app Zero-Sign-On will help empower a new set of enterprise mobile users by making it easy with 1-click access to their favorite business apps from their Samsung device.  No more thumbing usernames or passwords or storing them on post-it sticky notes! Enterprise IT & CIOs can rest easy and embrace consumerization trends like BYOA (Bring Your Own Applications) while maintaining control of corporate digital identities for user access to BYOAs.

 That’s it for an exciting day one from Mobile World Congress. Stay tuned for more!