BYOD Stories May 29, 2015

Project Vault is a super secure, isolated computing environment from Google

One major barrier to adoption of new hardware and software solutions in the workplace is a top-down requirement that all communications are encrypted, secured from the prying eyes of today’s brazen hackers. It’s the reason why there are still thousands of businesses out there shockingly still issuing Blackberry phones. With more and more consumers and companies alike clamoring for a bring-your-own-device future, how can employees ensure their devices are as secure as chief information officer’s would like? Google has an idea.

Project Vault, shown off today at Google’s I/O conference, is a microSD card with full operating system, ARM-based processor, NFC chip, and antenna packed inside of it. Oh, and 4GB of storage. While that’s pretty incredible in and of itself, what really makes this microSD card special is that the OS it runs is known as a Real Time Operating System (RTOS), and is packed with a suite of cryptographic solutions for keeping data secure and messaging with others using Project Vault microSD cards encrypted. An RTOS is different from the operating systems most of us are used to (i.e. Unix) that can’t run every process we throw at them simultaneously but switch between tasks rapidly, ensuring at the very least that the computer is still responsive to its user (i.e. doesn’t freeze). Real-time operating systems have stricter deadlines to complete the tasks that are thrown at them.

The main function of Project Vault will be super-secure messaging so hackers, or the NSA, cannot snoop (which also explains why Vault uses an RTOS – all resources are dedicated to encrypting and sending/receiving messages quickly). The encryption only works when both the sender and the receiver are using Project Vault SD cards, however, but it’ll work on any device with a microSD slot – so laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. are supported. Google says the microSD card can also be used to encrypt video and as an alternative to passwords (where the card could generate cryptographic key pairs and store them securely). The company has an SDK up on Github for it that developers can use to build applications for the new project. Maybe the next Snowden will send confidential documents to journalists using his smartphone?

BYOD Stories May 21, 2014


Bring your own device (BYOD) is more common than ever in the working world and of course Google is looking to capitalize on this opportunity. Today, the company announced four new features for its Google Apps Mobile Management for Android service. First up to bat is inactive account wipe, which clears an inactive user account from a device after a predetermined number of days. An ideal scenario for this feature is a misplaced or stolen smartphone or tablet loaded with sensitive information. Google’s second new feature for people taking their devices into the corporate world is the addition of Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP). This will let your company’s admins distribute CA-based certificates for EAP networks.

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BYOD Stories November 19, 2013


FreedomPop, the wireless service provider offering free and cheap no-contract plans on Sprint’s network, today announced it’s now allowing customers to bring their old Sprint phones to activate on its $0/month wireless plans. We’ve confirmed with the company that will also soon include iPhones and Sprint’s full lineup of Android devices.

The company has been around since 2011 with various hotspot products and recently launched its first smartphone direct to customers alongside the world’s first completely free mobile service. A guaranteed 500 MBs of data, 500 text messages, and 200 anytime voice minutes for free each month would sound enticing to anyone, but previously customers would have to pay $99 for an almost two-year old HTC Evo Design to get it. Despite that, FreedomPop says it “immediately sold out” of stock when it launched last month.

That’s about to change today as FreedomPop will now let Sprint customers bring their own device to activate on its free and cheap plans. Although there is no mention of it in the carrier’s press release, we’ve confirmed that includes the iPhone 4 and 4S as well as 20 other Sprint devices initially. Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop’s CEO, tells us it will be another few weeks before the iPhone is compatible, and eventually all Sprint smartphones will be supported.  expand full story

BYOD Stories June 27, 2013


As more and more companies start allowing employees to bring their own smartphones and tablets into work, Google is obviously looking to capture a portion of that enterprise market. The company on Thursday announced several new features for the growing bring your own device, or BYOD, market.

Comprehensive mobile device management is included with Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Organizations large and small can manage smartphones and tablets – including Android and iOS – right from the Google Apps Admin console, with no need for special hardware or software.

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BYOD Stories May 25, 2012

According to a blog post by Cisco’s TelePresence Technology Group OJ Winge (via NetworkWorld), Cisco announced it is shutting down its Android-based Cius business tablet project. The roughly $1,000 tablet solution started shipping less than a year ago and clearly is not doing too well. The reason for killing off the 7-inch Cius tab? Winge noted 95 percent of organizations Cisco surveyed now allow employees to bring their own device, which he said underscores “a major shift in the way people are working, in the office, at home and on-the-go.”

There is no denying that iOS devices and cheaper Android solutions are taking the place of Cius. Recent studies show Apple with 97 percent of tablets in the enterprise, while 94 percent of the Fortune 500 is currently testing or deploying the iPad. The result is no further investment in the Cius tablet line and only limited support for what is currently available. The company will instead “double down” on Jabber and WebEx:

Over the last year, Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences… Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what’s available today. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.

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