Android for Work Rewraps Lollipop for Business Security

With each exponential update to its confectionery code-named operating systems, Android has fed our insatiable sweet tooth for being mobile in our personal lives. Then, open development and extensions from a multitude of smartphone and tablet manufacturers, along with an equally easy-to-program app catalog, elevated the little green robot to the leading mobile platform globally. However, the virtues of openness and customization that made Android the top choice are what gave IT a sour stomach over standardization in security and management. However, Android for Work could be just the spoonful of sugar to make any past fragmentation distaste simply disappear.

Partner Parfait for First Taste of Security Scrumptiousness

While developers and consumers gleefully gorged on the exponential growth of apps in the Android market, IT still has not been fully ready to join in because of fragmentation and security concerns. Encryption and third-party email containers, combined with mobile device management (MDM), paved the way for bring-your-own-device adoption in business. With this combination, worker productivity was saved with safe emails, calendars and contacts, and IT had the ability to triage devices in the event of a disaster or outright risky behavior.

As apps and mobile devices approach processing power equal to stationary work systems and software, the mobility conversation once again needed to shift toward separating the work and personal experience at an even more granular level.

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that partnered with Android followed the path of MDM vendors by offering solutions steeped in the best practices of enterprise mobility management (EMM). Data and devices were given equal attention in deployment, management and security. With separated, secure suites of productivity on users’ devices, privacy concerns lessened, and control over data became as granular or broad as business practices required. Everything from broad, group-based distribution of permissions for seamless access behind the firewall to the more finite security nuances of thwarting top document defilers such as cut, copy and paste are now over-the-air managed from IT’s mobile command center.

While this new world of separated productivity and play was a step forward, fragmentation is now exponentially more complex, unless a company is lucky enough to have employees purchase all the same Android devices or lock down data to only approved devices. An answer for one-window enterprise mobile control is now needed more than ever as fragmentation takes on a new, containerized work form.

Android for Work Corrals OEM, ISVs and EMM

Android for Work, which is part of the Android L 5.1 update, is poised to be the next epicenter of IT management consistency and control of enterprise data while still giving employees the greatest diversity in mobile device choices. Security, management and innovation are the three guiding tenets of Android as it moves from crushing candy to helping users crush enterprise deadlines.

Security enhancements come from faster deployments of multi-user profiles, a mobility staple in retail chains and health care facilities for instant shift changes. Android for Work will also use security policies to give the necessary data leak prevention controls to any device that is running Android L 5.1. With EMM, these options will also find their way onto devices still scooping great value from Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

The management of devices will be one consistent enrollment process and user experience. With Android for Work, help desk and other support, key performance indicators will no longer be dragged down by obscure devices and apps not normally in the IT stack. The Google Play for Work store will extend one process management for the procurement and distribution of data that is vital to the enterprise and still an expense report affair for end user reimbursement.

Innovation in Android for Work still finds its lifeblood in technology partners and outside developers, but for the first time, internal apps have become more of a reality with one of the easiest development tool sets available today. Legacy software can now make the move from desktops through public cloud file-sharing services. Also, Google Play for Work will drive a new way of vertical-specific apps from both Google and the market at large.

To learn more about implementing Android for Work smoothly, MaaS360 by IBM hosted a webcast with Google the week it was launched that showed how all mobility can come together securely with EMM.

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Rob Patey

Storyteller/Dreamweaver, IBM

Rob has been waxing poetic about IT topics since the late 90s for technology organizations large and small. While...