Over the past few years, BYOD policies have been the answer to employees who want a single device to use for both work and personal business. BYOD has lots of advantages: employees can choose whatever device they like, companies save money on buying the device and service, and it’s much easier for workers to keep up with a single device as opposed to multiple devices. The main disadvantage (one which literally keeps IT workers up at night) is the lack of security. Finally, the solution to security might be here. Google is releasing Android for Work, which addresses many of the IT help desk’s concerns about BYOD security.
What is Android for Work?
Android for Work is essentially a feature built into the latest Android operating systems (beginning with the Lollipop version) that splits a user’s profile into separate sections for work and personal use. It provides smart device encryption that recognizes when the device is in a safe location (such as on the office Wi-Fi or near the user’s wearable tech device) and offers security relative to the environment.
Android for Work works with an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution. It allows IT to manage mobile devices remotely, including installing apps and deleting data. This solves the problems associated with lost devices, employees who quit and refuse to come in for the IT service desk to delete sensitive information, employees who pass away, and other issues plaguing workplaces that employ BYOD.
Devices Equipped with Android for Work
Google is reportedly collaborating with a number of EEM vendors, including MobileIron, BlackBerry, AirWatch, Citrix, and MaaS360. Most of the major manufactures of handsets are also along for the ride, including Huawei, Samsung, Motorola, Sony, HTC, Dell, HP, and LG.
Android for Work rolled out as a feature of Google’s Android version 5.0 and 5.1, known as Lollipop. Obviously, the Nexus 6 is equipped, along with HTC’s One M8 and a few of the M7s. Motorola’s Moto X, Moto G, G LTE, Moto E, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, and Droid Mini also has this feature. It is also likely that the Samsung G S5 and LG G3, along with some of the G2s will also be equipped with Android for Work.
Apps for Android for Work
One of the niftiest aspects of Android for Work is the ability for companies to leverage both third-party apps and their own internally-developed apps. Google is offering most of the standard work apps in the Google Play store, including email, calendar, document, and spreadsheet apps. Companies can also offer their own apps in Google Play, even for users that don’t have the Android for Work functionality.
For users, Android for Work makes it seamless to access work and personal apps. The apps are not separated, but are listed right alongside all of the personal apps on the device, like Facebook, Twitter, games, and weather apps. Android for Work apps are designated by a badge on the app’s icon. Hence, users can swap back and forth between games, entertainment, news, work, and personal communications.
In short, Android for Work offers security, convenience and functionality. So, is Android for Work the solution for your BYOD worries?