Android Device Management: Sweet Features, No Toothache

People love their Android devices. In fact, it has become one of the world’s most popular mobile operating systems (OS). Consumers expect to put this technology to work, not just use it outside the office. This has made Android device management a critical tool in any security team’s arsenal.

In addition, Google’s commitment to making compatible devices enterprise-ready has made the Android OS so good, organizations won’t want to miss out on the full potential of the platform. Since its initial release, Google has added more features to maximize productivity, bolster security and improve the OS’s overall adaptability in the enterprise.

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Tracking the Evolution of the Android OS

Below is an abbreviated look at the evolution of the OS and the key security features associated with each iteration.

  • When Android 5.0 (Lollipop) was released in 2014, a key feature was adding work profiles. This addition was designed to separate work from play and help protect user privacy. Only approved applications can be installed in these profiles, and work data is encrypted to keep it safe if the device is lost or stolen.
  • Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), released in 2015, included security and management enhancements, such as fingerprint access, which improves the user experience without compromising security.
  • The following year, Android 7.0 (Nougat) added an always-on virtual private network (VPN) feature, which directed all traffic from the work profile or specific apps through a secure connection.
  • The newest release, Android 8.0 (Oreo), brings zero-touch enrollment, which saves users time and hassle when getting set up for Android device management.

Three Tips for Managing Android Devices

When implementing Android in the enterprise, organizations should follow the key steps outlined below to make sure the deployment is successful.

Use a UEM Solution

Industry analysts have adopted the term unified endpoint management (UEM) to describe a solution that encompasses all types of data and devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops, desktops and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This tool should be able to manage any enrolled Android device, along with all other commonly used platforms, with ease.

Manage Devices With Remote Support and Simple Enrollment

Over-the-air (OTA) and remote support are some of the best tools to have when managing Android devices. Even if a device is miles away, IT can see exactly what the end user sees and provide technical support from afar. With Android zero-touch enrollment, the IT team can manage devices without physically touching them at all.

Be Secure, but Don’t Burn Trust

Today’s technology landscape has raised user, device and data security as one of the most important issues for IT and security leaders to address. When managing Android devices, security teams should set rules to ensure that the organization’s data is encrypted in case of a breach. It’s also important for end users to feel confident that their personal data is truly private, even from the IT team. Trust and reassurance between IT and the user population is key.

Android Device Management Can Be Easy

When implementing an Android device management solution, it’s important to assess the needs of the organization, the IT department and end users, especially when it comes to privacy. Security leaders should be sure to follow all the proper steps for a successful UEM rollout.

Managing Android devices doesn’t need to be difficult — especially when you’re using a UEM solution that provides fast deployment and management of all the organization’s users, devices, apps and content — Android and otherwise — from a single console. After enrolling devices, IT can implement security policies and compliance rules to help protect users and their data without impeding productivity or violating user privacy.

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Dan Cheuvront

MaaS360 Product Marketing Professional, IBM

Dan's career has been primarily IT-based, starting at Apple Inc. as a Mac Genius, moving on to Flextronics, and is now on the Product Marketing Team at IBM for MaaS60. Since joining MaaS360 in 2012, Dan began by giving product demonstrations, to supporting large-scale partner accounts and their clients. Whether it's giving tailor-made webinars for individual clients, or traveling for large audiences, Dan knows MaaS360 inside and out. In his spare time, Dan loves cooking and cake decorating. He is an accomplished graphic designer, photographer, and volunteers as a dog foster parent for Operation Paws for Homes.