Stardate 2013: Enterprise Android Management and Security
Nitin Sonawane | January 08, 2013
We all tend to view new platforms and technologies through the lens of existing platforms. Mobility is no different. For example, the Android platform has always been a bit of an enterprise “question mark”, since its arrival in late 2008. From the IT point of view, this meant direct comparisons against BlackBerry & iOS. RIM touted the capability of locking down every bit of real estate on the Blackberry whether it made sense or not, but this was a user experience no-no on a consumer-optimized platform such as Android. Apple touted the breadth and depth of mobile apps, but Google Play for Android appeared like the Wild West since it was not explicitly policed.
However, Android also had several immediate advantages. Price points were lower than iOS, which appealed to users in BYOD programs. There were a large number of vendors selling a variety of devices through all carriers worldwide. This fragmentation actually gave IT the benefit of competing vendors for corporate purchases. Finally, the openness of the platform lent itself to interesting custom devices, especially ruggedized devices being built for specific verticals.
Three years ago, I remember being 100% convinced that Android was going to one day take the enterprise by storm, regardless of initial comparisons and concerns. New technologies almost always require new solutions, and Android was a good example of that. The Android platform was here to stay but it needed a new approach to enterprise security.
So we started a small team in 2010 to enable Android for the enterprise beyond what the baseline operating system and device manufacturers could provide. The result was MobileIron AppConnect for Android, which released in Q4 2012 and provides a strong foundational platform for the management of enterprise apps and data. The enterprise persona it creates isolates corporate apps and data from personal apps and data while providing a great user experience. It also enables a broad ecosystem of enterprise applications from a variety of 3rd party vendors. It’s our approach to Android management.
Users get to use their Android devices for work. IT can rest assured that corporate data is safe and can focus on providing the mobile enterprise services those users need.
As a result, Android starts 2013 with the wind at its back in the consumer world and, for the first time, a solid security foundation in the enterprise world.
In followup posts, we’ll be discussing a variety of Android security topics, like Data Loss Prevention (DLP) strategies you can actually operationalize, and approaches to embed security into Android apps during the development process.