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Android 2.2: Ready For Enterprise?

Google is touting its new mobile platform's business-friendly features, but licensing Microsoft's ActiveSync may not offer enough security to make Android ready to work in the enterprise.
Afaria already supports iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Symbian. It lets IT control policies and manage updates for all enterprise-wide devices from a central console.

Sybase isn't the only Android management game in town. A company called Tangoe recently announced what could be termed "mild" enterprise support for Android.

Version 5.0 of Tangoe's mobile device management software supports devices running Android 2.0 and higher. Its on-device client collects data from the handset and lets IT manage a number of features, such as carrier plans. This means enterprises can control voice, SMS, and data usage to manage costs.

Tangoe's goal is specifically to help companies control telecom expenses, and it falls short of providing the deeper security support that Sybase does.

The Bottom Line

Ovum's Dawson summed up the situation nicely: "Enterprises have to figure out the correct balance between letting users have the device they want and identify with, and applying the appropriate security to user devices. In many respects, users and IT departments are in conflict, and that's not a tension that will be resolved anytime soon."

The take-away here is that Google's Android 2.2 Froyo will work as an enterprise platform. The base level security features of complex passwords and remote wipe can be enforced and managed. If those are the only hurdles preventing your enterprise from joining the Android army, feel free to enlist today.

If more advanced security support is necessary, proceed with caution. The big shortcoming of Android 2.2 is that encryption (of the device, its files, or the microSD card) is not supported. Complex passwords or not, without microSD-level encryption, lost devices can still spill company secrets.

For Further Reading:

First Impressions Of Android 2.2 Froyo

Android 2.2 Coming To Most HTC Phones

Android 2.2 To Add Tethering, Wi-Fi Hotspot