Business Users

This is a large and profitable market segment that many OEMs target. Although it may be true that the line between business users and consumers is becoming less differentiated, application providers seem to be focusing on how to integrate their software with MIDs and netbooks to deliver a consistent experience to enterprise users.

Many firms are facing budgetary pressures and need to both become more efficient and cut spending. Solutions such as hosting office applications and documents in the cloud with the device running a highly customized version of Ubuntu Mobile are increasingly attractive to companies. Even so, having a mobile device used in this way does raise more security concerns than if the employee were, for example, tethered to a workstation at the office.

A factor therefore driving the adoption of mobile devices in corporate settings is security. Password protection, remote wipe capability, and physical device tracking are the top three factors cited by many companies that are contemplating equipping employees with mobile devices.

Ubuntu comes with a feature to create an encrypted private directory for the default user. You can set this up on a device as follows:

$ sudo apt-get install ecryptfs-utils

Then run the following:

$ ecryptfs-setup-private sudo, which allows temporary superuser privileges, should not be used for this operation. Enter a login passphrase, which is the password used to log in to the device. Choose a mount passphrase. Enter the mount passphrase (again).

The ecryptfs - setup - private script creates the /home/user/Private directory and tests that the encrypted mount works as expected.

After rebooting the device, there will be an encrypted directory in /home/user/Private where all confidential company information can be stored.

Automatic, password-less logins such as the one on Ubuntu MID mean that the ~/Private directory is not mounted by default. This is by design and means that a password needs to be entered when clicking on the file "Access Your Private Data" in the ~/Private directory. After this is done, the encrypted data is available to the user.

A different passphrase should be used to encrypt the mount; this is only needed if it is necessary to manually recover data.

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