Google Moves Deeper into Enterprise with Android for Work
If you've wondered just how serious Google is about staking its claim in the enterprise, here’s a hint: Android for Work just launched and it aims to leverage the popularity of the company’s mobile operating system. Given that over 1 billion people carry Android smartphones, the door may be wide open for Google.
Android for Work lets device makers, developers, and management providers come together to make the mobile operating platform safer, more manageable and ready for business. At least that’s how Google is billing its new effort to transform business mobility.
“For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking e-mail, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals,” said Rajen Sheth, director of Product Management for Android and Chrome for Work. “But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped.”
Encrypted for the Enterprise
Google wrangled up a group of partners to make sure Android for Work meets its goal: to help businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform. Android for Work has four key technology components: Work Profiles; Android for Work app; Google Play for Work; and built-in productivity tools, according to Sheth.
“We’ve built on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement and multi-user support in Android 5.0, Lollipop to create a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data,” Sheth said. “IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users' personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content.”
Google has devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through KitKat -- or that don’t run work profiles natively -- covered. The company created the Android for Work app to deliver secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps that can be completely managed by IT.
Moving on, Google Play for Work lets businesses deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work securely. Finally, Google is rolling out a suite of business apps for e-mail, contacts and calendar. The apps support both Exchange and Notes and offer document editing capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
“We’re joined by a number of partners as part of the Android for Work program, including many familiar names within the Android ecosystem,” Sheth said. Those partners span management, devices, applications and networking and include Citrix, SAP, BlackBerry, Sony, Samsung, HP, Box, Adobe, Cisco, F5 and Palo Alto.
“Together with a wide range of management, application and device makers, we believe the Android for Work program provides businesses and workers with the choice and flexibility they need to get things done at work,” he added.