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secure container

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Get to know Docker, container technology out of the box
Contributor(s): Lisa Phifer

A secure container, in a mobile security context, is an authenticated and encrypted area of an employee's device that separates sensitive corporate information from the owner's personal data and apps.

The purpose of containerization (also known as sandboxing) is to prevent malware, intruders, system resources or other applications from interacting with the secured application and associated corporate data. 

Secure data containers are third-party mobile apps.The container acts as a storage area that is authenticated and encrypted by software and governed by corporate IT security policies. Some containers are designed for a single mobile OS, but many vendors offer variations of the same data container application for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Such apps let IT enforce security policies on the same sensitive business data across different devices, which is especially useful because native device security capabilities vary.

As BYOD (bring your own device) and consumerization trends have grown, the challenges involved in protecting both corporate data and user privacy have also increased. Containerization is one means of providing administrators with full control over corporate applications and data without affecting those of the user. 

This was last updated in August 2015

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