Experience of using a Secure Container – Divide.

Posted on May 14, 2013

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Firstly,  what are they ?

Secure containers or Trusted Execution Environments are designed to allow you to have two separate work-spaces on your mobile phone,  for example one for work and one for personal.

Here is en earlier post that looked at how they work.
What did I do ?
I installed Divide to try one out,  and here is a summary of my thoughts.
Divide was trivial to obtain and install,  just like any other app you find it in the app store and download it from there, it installed first time with no issues.
Once installed it was an app icon on my home screen,  and to use it I simply tapped it, again just like any other app.
So far so go.
It was stable in use, and did not crash or behave weirdly.
How was it ?
Once inside i was able to use other applications that were there, and overall they worked as planned.
Mail, Contacts and calendar were by default.
Anything in the Divide container was not visible outside the container, and the files are all stored in an encrypted format.
The apps were OK,  and there are facilities to have more deployed if you’re running this for your company.
You keep the same phone number so regardless which side of the container you’re in you receive all calls and can make calls from your number.
The negative points were that I was not enamoured by the home screen design,  but hey it was not too bad.
When not using divide, but the normal Samsung home screen (TouchWiz), everything to do with the home screen was much slower, much much slower.
So slow indeed that I had to uninstall Divide because it I could not live with waiting 5 to 8 seconds for the home screen to reappear, or 4 seconds for the dialer to start etc.
In summary?
So at this point I think it is fair to say that they are OK for innovators looking for new solutions, and perhaps for the avant guarde of the early adopters, but going by my experience they are not ready for the mass market.
However I should think that in rapid order such performance issues will be resolved and they will be ready for the mass market.
Other thoughts:
And I would like to see the ability to have dual MSISDNs and a form of signalling support to know if there are messages and calls being collected for the other side, so that I could have two numbers and maintain a simple way to manage them.
I think the fact that the file system for within the Divide container was encrypted gives great assurance that those apps outside of the divide environment could not see the files exist, or what their contents are. Divide do provide a VPN support in their “extensions” and I think this is critical.
I did not get to try their “Builder” extensions, however this looks like the start of a Application management service which I should think would be critical for any company with more than a handful of devices and/or apps to manage.
All that said,  I do not yet think that these solutions are up to scratch, and it will be a bit more time before the  performance and UI issues are ironed out,  that said I believe these secure containers will be enterprise ready within the year.
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Posted in: Business, mobile