Fundamentals: 3 Ways to Virtualize Mobile Devices

Apr 24, 2013


3 Ways to Virtualize Mobile Devices

The key to a COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled) strategy for smartphones, tablets or even PCs is the ability to compartmentalize hardware into business and ­personal partitions and then centrally manage configuration, security, and data and ­application policies on the business side of the divide. If that sounds like a good idea, first decide if you need a total split personality or simply IT control of a few select apps and settings. 

The cleanest, most secure but technically most challenging (at least on mobile devices) strategy is client-side virtualization, where a mobile hypervisor creates two independent virtual machines. While this is now trivially simple on PCs, it’s vexingly difficult, although not impossible, on most mobile devices. 

If you don’t need a virtual moat, you can securely partition and control work-related ­activities, and associated apps and data, using quasi-/thin hypervisors, multiapplication sandboxes, single app containers, encrypted local storage containers and remote app ­execution. We’ll survey the options, outline the pros and cons of each, and conclude with an action plan. (S6830413)


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