Samsung and Microsoft team up to on BYOD Android authentication

Samsung and Microsoft have tied up a deal around Knox and Windows Server 2012 R2 that should make it easier to put Galaxy Android BYOD devices on the corporate network.

BlackBerry thinks Samsung’s fledgling secure app container Knox lacks the security chops for enterprise BYOD, however a new partnership with Microsoft could be the side door Samsung needs to get more Galaxy devices in the enterprise, starting with organisations running Windows Server 2012 R2.

Announced by Samsung last week, Knox will be the first Android implementation to provide full support for ‘Workplace Join to Active Directory’, a BYOD authentication feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 released by Microsoft last year, enabled by a new Active Directory Federation Service called Device Registration service.

Workplace Join provided a way for IT admins to grant access to Workplace Join devices with lower rights than a fully ‘Domain Joined’ device on Active Directory.

Until now, Workplace Join only allowed workers with Windows 8.1 and iOS devices to sign up to join a workplace network to access internal websites and business apps. Admins can managed devices authenticated with Workplace join to set policies to control access to authorised apps and services. Oddly, Windows Phone devices, including Samsung’s Ativ S, can’t sign up under Workplace Join authentication yet.

Samsung said that support for Workplace Join will be included in “the latest Samsung mobile devices”, which presumably including the new Galaxy S5, though it doesn’t state it. In coming months Samsung will include Workplace Join sign-on in all Knox devices.

Knox will also support Microsoft’s SME-focussed mobile device management solution Windows Intune. Admins can manage Knox devices through the Windows Intune admin console by implementing management APIs on Knox Standard.

Microsoft and Samsung are also teaming up on cloud printing to enable Samsung’s devices to print documents from their smartphones on a service backed by Windows Azure-based and SharePoint.

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