It occurred to enterprise information technology (IT) and security teams rather quickly that if they were to be forced to allow employee-owned, consumer-grade mobile devices on their corporate networks, it would be beneficial to have the capability to segregate corporate and personal data on those devices. Unfortunately, mobile device management products offer very limited functionality in this regard.

Several new product classes have emerged to meet these enterprise requirements. The classes include secure workspace products and app hardening products. Interesting work is being done in both segments to address the need to isolate corporate data on mobile devices. There has been a rush of vendors into these markets, which now includes traditional mobile device management (MDM) vendors as well as virtualization vendors, remote access vendors, and pure-play secure workspace vendors.

While these markets are currently fragmented and employ a range of technologies, this should not confuse the fundamental requirement of any technical approach, which is to keep corporate data secure, isolated, and managed on mobile devices. In practice, app hardening and secure workspace products are used effectively together, for example, with apps typically wrapped before being used within secure workspaces. We expect to see secure workspace and app hardening products increasingly bundled into functional suites.

That’s if these features aren’t subsumed into standard mobile operating systems or offered as value-added services by mobile device manufacturers. The two largest players in the mobile device market, Apple and Samsung, have introduced data isolation features in recent releases. Apple’s latest iOS update includes some rather basic features, such as “open in” controls, while Samsung has added a richer set of features, including a secure workspace, to its KNOX solution. KNOX is available on a select set of Samsung devices running Android.

For a fuller discussion of containerization features in Apple iOS and Samsung KNOX, see the analyst brief “Mobile App Containers: Product or Feature”.