Android for Business – is Google looking to beef up security for enterprise users?
Google is reportedly working on adding a healthy dose of business capabilities into the next version of Android, prepping it for business. Data encryption, bio-metrics and enterprise controlled authentication, plus new APIs to allow remote management of company controlled devices and more.
The news comes just days after a report that the White House has re-evaluated its use of Blackberry for its security-minded device needs. Although Blackberry won over the White House once again, players like Samsung, with their Knox initiative, and Apple’s ‘for Business‘ offerings, have been aggressively trying to oust Blackberry as the preferred vendor of business and enterprise mobile devices.
Updates and enhancements to Android could include stronger data encryption and storage of sensitive data directly on chips, both of which prevent unauthorized users from breaking into sensitive data stored on device. Compatibility with authentication driven apps and services such as bio-metric readers and enterprise controlled authentication management would prevent unauthorized access of corporate resources, such as email. Finally, remote device management would allow a company to control what apps are installed on a device and initiate a device data wipe if required.
Google’s attempts to boost Android’s security and conquer the business world are said to be headed up by Sundar Pichai, head of Android and Chrome. This is important, as a part of the Chrome team, Sundar has seen Chrome, specifically the Chrome OS, experience significant growth in the education sector. Many schools have opted for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes for their staff, students and classrooms. Some device management principles of Chrome OS leapt onto Android last year with Google Play for Education. Google Play for Education allows an educator to purchase and push an app install onto all of the devices belonging to their students, including Nexus 7 tablets. These proven user/device and app management tools could easily translate into enterprise offerings with the proper security measures.
When will we see these new features? There is no official word from Google, but The Next Web thinks we’ll see new security built into Android’s next big release, known currently as the “L” release in Google’s alphabetical naming scheme for Android. We are inclined to agree on this timing, if Google wants to get into this market, the sooner they get started, the better.
Does your employer allow you to connect your own Android device to work resources?