Enterproid Divide, a dual-persona sandboxed email app, is being released for iOS today. Divide was previously only available for Android, but now its cross-platform support and many features beyond email should make it an attractive option for handling BYOD.
Enterproid, a New York-based startup, launched Divide for Android in February 2011 (previous coverage of the Android version here). At the most basic level, Divide is a 3rd-party sandboxed Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) mobile app. It does email, contacts, and calendars, all in a password protected environment, insulated from personal apps.
Divide is available as a standalone app, or it can be managed in one of two ways. Like any EAS client, organizations can remote wipe it and set password policy through Exchange, or for company-wide deployments Enterproid offers a cloud-based management portal called Divide Server.
Divide goes way beyond email and calendars, though. It has a built-in browser, and companies can also use it to do certain types of mobile app management. Divide can wrap and push corporate app, and even though the apps will be visible in the device’s native (personal) environment, they’ll at least be protected with the same password policy as the work environment. (With the Android version, corporate apps are hidden from the personal part of the device.) What’s cool is that administrators can set filetype association rules, and the wrapped corporate apps can be launched from the Divide environment.
The built in browser also can be managed and restricted by IT, and Divide also integrates with UC solutions from Broadsoft, making for a fairly complete work persona.
Ready for mass BYOD adoption?
One of the past criticisms of Enterproid Divide was that it was Android-only. Now, of course, that obstacle is gone, clearing the way for wider adoption. There are a few other issues inherent in solution to watch out for, though.
Since app management in divide is limited to corporate-deployed apps (where the company has access to the source code), that means that a lot of publicly available native SaaS apps wouldn’t be able to work directly with corporate email. So for these public apps, companies would either have to try to get access to the source code files and deploy them inside Divide, or just let the app live outside of the walled garden and not get access to corporate email. There is another alternative, though: just use Divide’s browser to access SaaS web clients (cue the native vs. HTML5 debate).
The bigger question is how users really feel about split-personality environments. The walled-off approach can be annoying—most users are smart enough to password-protect their devices even without MDM or EAS requiring it, so having to enter two passwords to check work email could be a pain (although it could enable a better work/life balance). However, if users that want to do BYOD are presented with the choices of (1) using a sandboxed email client like Enterproid, (2) having their personal devices be managed and possibly locked down, or (3) not getting work email on their personal devices at all, I’m guessing the choice would be to use the sandboxed email client.
The important thing to remember is that these issues come up with just about any dual persona solution, not just Divide. And now that Divide is available for both Android and iOS, it’s ready to be a top contender for companies that want a non-MDM approach to accommodating BYOD.