Home / Technology / Apps /  How to keep work and personal separate on one phone

New Delhi: Keeping two separate phones for work and personal use can be a hassle as it requires employees to keep two devices on them all the time. But storing both work and personal information on one device can also put you and your company at risk, cautions Sukesh Jain, senior vice president, IT and mobile enterprise business at Samsung India.

Letting the company handle it: Many companies use mobile device management (MDM) services such as Samsung Knox for Enterprises, Google Apps Mobile Management, Citrix XenMobile, AirWatch by VMware and Microsoft Intune. Compatible with both Android and iOS devices. These tools segregate work apps into encrypted compartments, allowing IT administrators more control over passwords and the option to wipe all the data if the employee loses the device or leaves the company. However, many companies do not use these paid services since they add up to their IT expenses. Besides, users too are wary of IT-backed MDM solutions, which can be misused by companies since they can read messages, check browsing history, and track device’s location.

For such users, Samsung’s Knox provides a mutli-layered solution, which is built into the device hardware of most high and mid-range Samsung smartphones. It allow users to create a “secure folder", which uses encryption to create a secure area on the device where the user can keep their work apps, documents, photos and files locked away with a password or biometric data, such as iris or fingerprints. Apps in the secure folder are kept separately on the device and will not be visible to apps outside of it. It allows users to access their work apps without rebooting the smartphone. “The Knox platform can verify each piece of software that loads. If verification fails, Knox either records the tampering by flipping a one-time fuse called the Knox Warranty Bit, or prevents further booting," adds Jain.

Other app options: Many users have their work email configured on the same Gmail app, while many use their personal account to join their work groups on WhatsApp. The risk of accidentally sharing a very personal joke or image meant for a friend’s eyes only, with a colleague or work group is quite possible. The fact that many of these apps such as WhatsApp auto image downloads sent to them by college buddies, enhances the risk of ending up with unsavoury content on one’s device.

Some phone makers such as Xiaomi and Vivo allows users to have two versions—one for work and the other to chat with friends and family. Xiaomi even allow users to create two separate profiles on the same phone. Apps kept on one profile won’t show up on the other and one can access them by unlocking the phone with a separate password or biometric data.

Extra layer of security: Subscribing to a reliable antivirus and virtual private network (VPN) solution for a phone can add an extra layer of security to all work-related communications and minimize the risk of malware/ransomware attacks or snooping by hackers. For instance, an app called Safe, which is free for Android users, assigns a security score (between 0 and 5) of the phone and tells you what you need to do on your phone to take your score up. “With apps such as Safe, users can carry out real-time security assessment of their device," says Saket Modi, CEO and co-founder of Lucideus, a Delhi-based security company.


Abhijit Ahaskar

Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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