Start-up of the Week / Two Cellphones in One

Using a single Android device, workers can keep their personal smartphone and their work one completely separate and secure with an innovation from Cellrox.

Bring Your Own Device – or BYOD – has become a prominent trend in the high-tech world, with workers showing up on the job with their own smartphones rather than company-issued ones.

“You can’t throw a Blackberry or a Nokia at the young generation of workers and tell them, ‘Good luck.’ Users do a lot more with the device than read email,” says Omer Eiferman, CEO of Cellrox. Workers want to bring their own mobile devices with their photos, applications and music, to work.

Most companies like the BYOD principle. Research shows that it saves companies money on the purchase and repair of equipment. Workers are also happier and productivity increases, with the blurring of boundaries between work and leisure.

But the IT people don't share this enthusiasm. They have to connect all the new devices to the company’s servers and applications, and are increasingly concerned about the security risks and information leaks. “Users scream every time the IT people tighten security,” says Eiferman, explaining the familiar tension in every large firm. “In a company like Morgan Stanley, everybody walks around with two devices – a Blackberry for the company’s applications and an iPhone for Waze, Angry Birds and everything that makes life easier. It’s not a logical situation.”

Enter Cellrox, which enables users to manage two or more personas on a single Android device and to toggle between them with a click.

“One persona is for the company. It enables you to do only what the company allows – the WIFI hotspots and the applications that are permissible," says Eiferman."The second persona is private and free, and the user can enjoy all the device’s capabilities without limit. The separation is absolute," he stresses. "A virus in the private virtual environment does not know about the existence of an additional environment.

"Cellrox does not put a burden on the device’s resources, nor does it drain the battery," he adds.

Eiferman claims that IT people are not the only ones who like Cellrox. Users do, too. “On the one hand, companies want security. They want to make sure that the applications don’t steal information. On the other hand, users don’t want the company to be able to see the text messages that they send, or whether they complain about the company on Facebook.”

Cellrox, which was established in 2011, has 13 employees. So far, it has raised funds from private investors, and is in another round of raising venture-capital funds.

Eiferman prefers to avoid giving details about the company’s clients.

“We cater to device manufacturers, communications operators and large companies,” he says. “All our clients are Fortune 500 – companies that looked into other security solutions and decided that separation was the best choice. The vision is that security will be part of the operating system and that management capabilities will be built into the telephones.”