Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, thanks in part to the growing trend in cloud computing, virtualization, telecommuting and bring-your-own-device setups. A growing concern, though, is that not all mobile devices are at par with an organization's security requirements, especially when it comes to encryption and data integrity. A recent effort by Samsung called Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) provides assurance of device compliance with stringent security standards.

Android as a Growing Enterprise Platform

RIM's BlackBerry had been the preferred device and information services platform for many companies, although iOS and Android are emerging as today's more popular platforms in the consumer and enterprise markets. However, while iOS is considered a safe and secure mobile operating system, the same could not be said of Android, given the openness of the platform.

The fact that Android can be tweaked, modified and hacked to a user's or manufacturer's spec is sometimes worrisome to the eyes of corporate IT. The fragmentation of devices also leads to differences in application and feature support.

The biggest Android smartphone brand to date has an answer to this concern. Samsung has launched its SAFE program, which is basically for enterprise-friendly smartphones under its Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. The first of this class would be the latest flagship Galaxy S III.

Is Your Smartphone Enterprise Safe?

SAFE-certified Galaxy S III units will offer built-in AES 256 encryption, which is at par with U.S. government standards. The SAFE-certified smartphones will also come with onboard VPN and mobile device management (MDM) support, as well as enhanced ActiveSync support.

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Samsung's SAFE certification program offers enterprises better assurance of security and relaibility from their Android smartphone.

According to Samsung, SAFE will "defragment" the various version releases and customizations of Android, which includes legacy versions from Android 2.x onwards up to the latest 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This way, organizations would have an easier time managing BYOD schemes. The smartphone will also feature secure sharing of data and files across compatible devices. These can include documents and media.

Samsung's SAFE offers compliance with security standards. "The SAFE-branded and QA-tested Galaxy S III smartphone systematically defragments Android to provide a consistent level of IT compliance for individuals who demand the very best in both their personal and professional lives," said Samsung Mobile's vice president and general manager of enterprise sales chief Tim Wagner. He likewise said the SAFE-certified Galaxy models would have a target market in the "regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services and government."

The SAFE scheme provides MDM and VPN service providers with a software development kit for fully-integrating their solution with the device. These will then be thoroughly tested in cooperation with Samsung to verify the device's capabilities in supporting the MDN or VPN implementation.

To help ease in adoption of SAFE devices, Samsung says it will offer trade-in programs in certain markets, which will encourage enterprise users and consumers to trade in their devices -- which can include iPhones, BlackBerrys or other Android devices -- with SAFE-enabled Galaxy S III smartphones. The SAFE2SWITCH program will offer up to US$ 300 discount to individuals or organizations trading in their phones for a SAFE-enabled Galaxy S III.