Light Reading

AT&T Readies Dual-Billing Toggle Update in Q1

Sarah Reedy
12/6/2013
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NEW YORK — Mobile Network Security Strategies -- AT&T's dual-persona smartphone software -- will soon get a lot more useful to enterprises: The carrier plans to introduce dual-phone number and dual-billing capabilities to its Toggle app during the first quarter of next year.

Michael Singer, associate vice president of mobile, cloud, and access management for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s business solutions group, announced the planned update here at Light Reading's security conference Thursday.

Toggle, built by OpenPeak, is an AT&T-offered mobile app that builds a password-protected container for a user's corporate data and one for their personal data into the phone's operating system. It was first launched in 2011, but the addition of two phone numbers -- one personal and one for work -- as well as the ability to bill separately for both will be its most significant update yet. (See: AT&T App Enables Work/Play Divide and Photos: AT&T's 4G Gadget Bonanza.)

"That team is very excited about the ability to do dual-phone numbers and dual-billing on the same device," said Singer, who heads up AT&T's security operations center in New Jersey.

A lot of the work Singer is doing, as well as the intention of Toggle, is to respond to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, which has introduced new security vulnerabilities in the enterprise. If users bring their own devices, they go around all the security provisions put in place by their company, he said.

That opens handsets up to a number of threats. For example, botnets, once thought to be a problem of the future, are already happening today, and there's been 10 times growth in mobile malware, primarily on Android devices. Singer said denial of service (DOS) attacks also reached another level last summer when the size and frequency of attacks went up. (See: DNS Attacks on the Rise.)

All of this is compounded by the fact that 41% of business users use a personal device without the company's permission or knowledge.

Singer said the idea of having personal and business information on the same device is still not completely resolved, but having a container that is secure and remotely wipeable is something enterprises were very concerned about. Toggle is AT&T's answer, but most of the work happens in the network.

"We can't tax the device too much, so we lean heavily on the network side," he said, though he urged attendees to work on device security in addition to what's done on the network. He was quick to stress that the security baked into mobile device management (MDM) platforms, while improved, isn't sufficient.

"You don’t want to load six or seven security apps, so try to do one," he added. "I'm not sure we're all the way to one yet."

Singer said that as of now, you can build a container on most devices that have been made during the past year or two, but enterprises can dictate which handsets can be used. Toggle currently works on Android and iOS devices. The process is transparent to the end user, and if they leave the company, the enterprise container gets wiped, the app is deleted, and they're able to keep their device.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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MarkC73
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MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/11/2013 | 1:42:18 AM
Re: Dual billing
Too bad my employer doesn't use ATT, but I just want to carry one phone without having to call forward which has its own disadvantages.  Though, I suppose people will still carry their own personal phones for those who want certain things like specific devices and carriers that the workplace didn't select or won't sanction.
Phil_Britt
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Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/9/2013 | 5:49:35 PM
Re: Dual billing
I agree with Gabriel that there could be a danger of this slowing down the performance of the phone, but to have the itemization is certainly helpful.

I spendng too much time going through line items to bill for calls, sometimes for multiple clients, before a VOIP phone with unlimited calliing in the US and Canada such line item research unnecessary. If there are international calls, I try to make sure I use a U.S.-based call bridge.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/9/2013 | 2:41:52 PM
Re: AT&T Toggle update
Good point, Jerry. And dual-SIM cards are already popular in Latin America. The separate data services is pretty new though. Using policy, it can be divided by app, time of day, or to comply with any enterprise policy. 
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/9/2013 | 2:39:35 PM
Re: Dual billing
I think it's a really good thing for enterprises and also a cost saver. Rather than pay an employee's entire phone bill, they can segregate out just the relevant parts. Some employees might like it, too, depending on what matters more to them -- saving money or having privacy from their employer.
Telco
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Telco,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/6/2013 | 4:59:52 PM
Re: AT&T Toggle update
@JerryW805,  No, as I started reading this, I recall my work effort in 1987 with CellOne for seperate billing of the DualNAM.  Then after AT&T bought-out the enterprise, DualNAM was decommissioned, quite frankly in addition to small percentage of handheld phones then, most consumers used the work phone and could not afford or get anyone to call them on the cell.  Now, the Bill and the single VMail box are mandatory and the network packet scanning is to be relied upon.  (I think Singer is saying the corporate IT must implement security on it's side, as the ISP for the consumer already does this for the personal accounts, AT&T already does the mobile side)
JerryW805
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JerryW805,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/6/2013 | 4:46:20 PM
AT&T Toggle update
Am I the only person that remembers Dual-NAM service. We had two Phone numbers and billing for both seperately back in the early 1990's. The only thing new about this is seperating the applications or a container for each number, one for personal and one for Business.
Gabriel Brown
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Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/6/2013 | 11:02:32 AM
Re: Dual billing
As a BYOD user this sounds interesting. I can think of several ways it would help me:

* An additional number to reach me on

* Simplify my expense claims

* Enable direct access to company information (this benefit depends a lot on the type of work you do, and what your company policies are)

But I'd want reassurance that the client software doesn't impair the performance of the device too much.  
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
12/6/2013 | 10:24:21 AM
Dual billing
If you can bill separately for the work side of Toggle, I assume that helps companies regain some control and contract leverage amid the BYOD trend. That could be big for making BYOD more palatable for employers.
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