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The Promise and the Challenge of Android in the Enterprise

The Promise and the Challenge of Android in the Enterprise

by MaaS360 staff | November 23, 2010

Every two weeks the Customer Platform Services team at Fiberlink hosts a webinar on topics of interest to mobile IT professionals. On November 4, we presented a webinar on Enabling Android in the Enterprise. The webinar was meant to provide practical advice to IT practitioners that wanted or needed to take advantage of the new Exchange features supported in Android 2.2 (Froyo) like remote-wipe and password policy enforcement.

We knew it would be a popular topic, but we were really surprised at the interest level. Attendance was more than double similar webinars we hosted covering the same topic for the iPhone and Blackberry platforms. There were many detailed questions asked and issues discussed, but the two key concerns, as far as enterprise adoption is concerned, are fragmentation of the Android ecosystem and data encryption. Here are a few of the comments made by participants:

  • "Only about 1/3 of Froyo devices natively support IT Exchange Policies. How does an Enterprise keep track of these different support levels?
  • "Fragmentation is the BANE of Android adoption.
  • "Parity must be provided by the OS and not 3rd parties for Enterprise Adoption.
  • "2.2 does not support ENCRYPTION at all!
  • "When we will be able to enforce encryption 'at rest' on Android, as well as, required login (like a four digit pin)?
Polls conducted during the webinar indicated that about half the organizations (46%) currently support Android devices, and that most of them rely on Exchange integration to manage these devices (only 6% reported employing a third-party management tool). Finally, we asked attendees what services or applications they allowed employee-owned devices to access. Not surprisingly, most (94%) allow access to email and collaboration applications (like contacts and calendaring) and only 21% allow access to enterprise applications (like CRM, ERP, etc.).

For people that manage mobile devices for a living there are really two key needs:

  1. Scalable and efficient management tools that can span platforms and address employee-owned devices
  2. A baseline set of security features must be built into the Android platform itself (like Exchange support and data encryption) to enable support for applications beyond email and collaboration

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