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What Google’s Android for work means for your enterprise

Jonathan Andresen, Director, Products & Strategy Asia-Pacific, MobileIron | Feb. 26, 2015
The release of Android for Work, combined with the enterprise upgrades in Lollipop, delivers an outstanding opportunity for companies that have long waited to support Android devices as part of their BYOD mix.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

With over a billion people using Android smartphones, the Android platform is clearly a dominant OS for consumers. Yet when it comes to the Enterprise, IT departments have been slower to fully integrate Android-based devices into their mobility strategy due concerns about security — a lack of enterprise mobility management (EMM) capabilities in the OS itself — and fragmentation among device platforms.

Google's latest Android release in November 2014 — dubbed Lollipop — marked the beginning of Android's shift from a primary consumer focus to an Enterprise one. When combined with enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, and Lollipop gives IT the tools needed to easily manage and secure applications and content across all types of Android devices -- accelerating adoption of Android devices within the enterprise.

Lollipop also provides the foundation for Android for Work — Google's new program that enables secure, containerized app deployment to a range of Android devices through an ecosystem of EMM providers. Together, Lollipop and Android for Work deliver are arguably the biggest enterprise enhancements since the OS was first introduced in 2008.

Mobile devices have become indispensible tools that help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace, with their business innovation and productivity potential untapped.

Android for Work offers a set of enterprise productivity and security tools that are designed to address two of the biggest enterprise concerns about the platform: security and fragmentation. With Android for Work, Google introduces new enterprise management capabilities that should address these concerns by:

  • Separating work and personal data at the OS level
  • Enabling a consistent native Android user experience across disparate device manufacturers
  • Providing a model for secure enterprise app distribution

Google's release of Android for Work is a direct response to growing enterprise market demand for enterprise mobility. By delivering a deeper and more consistent security model for Android devices, Google clearly understands that simplifying Android management and security is critical to enabling broad enterprise acceptance.

To support this new model, Android for Work introduces fundamental changes in Android device management, including:

  • A new domain registration process for IT admins
  • New APIs for activating and managing Android for Work
  • Two options for deploying Android for Work in mixed device environments
  • A requirement for an EMM provider to deploy and manage Android for Work

Android for Work eliminates the need to allow "untrusted sources" to install internal apps on the device. In-house apps can now be deployed securely and privately through a combination of an EMM provider and the Google Play Store.


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