Samsung Electronics will now be able to sign government contracts for their new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4. Samsung announced this week that mobile devices that have KNOX installed on them have been approved by the Pentagon.
Samsung KNOX software has high-level encryption, VPN, and a way to separate personal settings from work settings. KNOX also allows IT administrators to manage a mobile device for specific policies. Currently KNOX is on the S4 only, but Samsung plans to add the software to other smartphones and tablets.
The S4 and other future Knox devices can be used by various U.S. government and military departments including the Department of Defense. The S4 is the first Android phone that meets the security requirements.
Now that the government has approved of KNOX, it opens up the opportunity for Samsung to also set up deals with companies where security standards are taken very seriously also. “We are very pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Defense has approved Samsung Knox-enabled devices for use in DoD networks,” stated Samsung Mobile President JK Shin. “This approval enables other government agencies and regulated industries such as health care and financial services to adopt Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. This is a significant milestone for Samsung as we work to grow our relationships within government and large corporate enterprises.”
Samsung’s gain may be at BlackBerry’s loss. BlackBerry was typically the go-to provider for government agencies and large companies due to high levels of security on their devices. Apple and Android have been muscling their smartphones into these markets during recent years. Fortunately for BlackBerry, the Pentagon gave the same approval for devices running on the BlackBerry 10 operating system as the KNOX system. BlackBerry’s security software is known as BlackBerry Balance.
Apple is also working on getting approval from the Department of Defense for their mobile devices. The Department of Defense is currently reviewing the iOS 6 operating system to determine if it is secure enough to be used by the military and defense agencies.
Samsung’s KNOX software is part of the company’s Samsung for Enterprise (SAFE) initiative. KNOX is built into the Android operating system and closes up potential security holes.
Passing the test does not guarantee a contract, but it does eliminate the need for security reviews at the individual Department of Defense organization level. Samsung, Apple, and BlackBerry will still have to compete for large government contracts.