In response to the growing threat of mobile malware, one intriguing concept has emerged as a potential solution to help enterprises secure mobile devices: dual-identity devices.
The idea is actually fairly simple. On the phone there will be two distinct profiles: one for personal usage, another for work usage. The apps and data of each profile would be kept distinct from each other. The “personal” profile would be managed by the user, and the “work” profile would be kept locked down (the way most IT people would prefer it). In theory, everybody is happy: the user gets to use their phone as they see fit, the user’s company has their data safe and sound. It’s a win-win situation, right?
The concept is appealing enough that both Blackberry and Samsung have announced that they are both using this very concept in their newest products. However, the devil is in the details – and that is where we discover there are a few problems.
Firstly, there isn’t a standard for how to do this sort of security. What it means is that if enterprises really want to use a feature like this, they might find that only a small percentage of devices are as secure as they ought to be because many employee devicest ha aren’t on the right platform. Alternately, they mighve to limit their users to a very specific device or platform – which goes against the grain of the entire Bring-Your-Own-Device trend.
Secondly, there’s the issue of usability. How will the user “see” the secured, encrypted portion? Blackberry’s implementation treats home/work as a setting, which can be easily changed from the phone’s home screen. Samsung’s implementation is more analogous to an app that has to be used.