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Should I support Android in the Enterprise?

Is it worth an organization's time to support the use of Android in the enterprise? The answer is yes, and contributor Matthew David explains why.

Historically, IT leaders have not been fond of having Google's Android in the enterprise. The main reason for the mistrust stems from the fragmentation and history of malware/viruses on the Android platform. There is a cost to supporting a BYOD program for any company and the last thing you want to do is introduce a platform that can significantly scale your problems.

Let's look at what Google is doing to improve Android's ability to help run the business and consider whether this platform is a viable tool in the enterprise.

Today, there are more than 1.4 billion active Android users. Google wants to support their ability in the enterprise and, to this end, they are implementing tools that will make it much easier for business leaders to run Android with Windows and iOS on their networks.

The first major push is the introduction in March 2015 of Android for Work (A4W). The idea behind A4W is simple:

  • Keep business and personal data completely separate on an Android device;
  • encrypt the whole Android device using technology similar to PC device encryption;
  • create a work profile that isolates work data from personal data; and
  • use mobile device management services connect to the A4W profile, allowing whitelisted applications to be installed.

The result is a device that is tightly controlled on the "work" side and split from personal data on the consumer side of the device.

Google also is addressing the issue of fragmentation. Google now keeps major parts of the Android OS as separate apps that will update outside of the major OS updates. For instance, mail, maps and the Web browser are not tied to the core OS (unlike Apple's iOS). Google is working to reduce the issue of Android fragmentation.

The net result is that business leaders can now consider Android in the enterprise as a viable tool to support their business.

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