IT departments have had a love/hate affair with Android since the first time the Google’s Green Guy raised his antennae: they loved the devices for themselves, while loathing the idea of end-users having access to such and open and flexible mobile OS.
In the early days of mobility, this fear of Android was a good survival instinct for these warriors of the firewall frontline. No forced email encryption…an App store rife with nefarious blackhats trying to capture data…and more fragmentation than a jigsaw puzzle when it comes to device type and OS version were all strong signs for IT to beware.
Today, management tools for mobility have assuaged those initial techie trepidations to make Android smartphones and tablets a viable entrée for enterprise palpability that can sit right beside Apple’s iOS. Recently, Fiberlink, an IBM company, scoured the millions of devices currently being managed by their Enterprise Mobility Management solution, MaaS360, to see just how Android is enabling enterprise mobile productivity.
Smartphones Smolder Tablets
When looking at all Android usage across MaaS360’s platform, smartphones trump tablets 84% to a paltry 16%. This stat isn’t really rife with surprise since email is the original killer app and since leaving behind the dark days of 2.0 the OS has become infinitely more secure.
However, IT still needs to be wary. Even though the Android OS lives in a 4.0 world, many users have yet to leave behind their elder operating systems for fear of change (and updating a slew of apps and other logins). This requires IT to use some form of Mobile Device Management to get these OS laggards up to current standards using policy controls for security and mobility management sanity.
Samsung: Android’s Enterprise Savior
Device diversity has always been a hallmark of the Android OS. It’s this wide stratum between high-end and more affordable manufacturers that has made Android the clear consumer choice across the globe.
Currently the Android device leaders in the enterprise consist of:
Top 5 Android Manufacturers Managed by MaaS360 MDM
The top 5 make up 90% of all Android devices in the enterprise, and include:
- Samsung: 56%
- Motorola: 22%
- HTC: 8%
- LG: 2%
- Asus: 2%
- Other: 10% (Amazon, Huawei, Sony, CASIO, Pegatron)
While a short list, it’s broad enough that IT seriously needs to take a minute when considering BYOD programs allowing Android devices. Despite sharing the same “engine” each of these devices are very different under the hood. To make an impact in the market, all of these devices share their own unique features and custom baked apps that IT must decide either to allow or block until work is over. From the useful Samsung SAFE feature to less than useful bloatware beleaguering other devices, all features must be part of an enterprise mobility planning conversation.
The diversification of Android is only going to continue if the rumor’s flying out of Mobile World Congress 2014 hold any credence. With the Nokia X Window’s skinned device Android device representing the low end of the market and Samsung’s possibly waterproof, iris scanning S5 feature bonanza at the high end, the Android management challenge for IT will only increase in 2014. Fortunately, Mobile Device management solutions have also evolved in line with devices, experiencing their own evolution from simple device watchdog programs to fully enabled Enterprise Mobility Management protecting devices, apps and content.
What to do when your list is exhausted and Halloween is approaching – embrace the Holiday for registrations that go through the roof. Concept and copy by moi. Execution by my very good design friends.
They shuffle mindlessly through the halls; satiating an unquenchable thirst for bandwidth off the corporate WiFi and gurgling a unison mantra for eeeeeemail and aaapps. They are your employees and they have been infected by the alluring glow of their smartphones and tablets .
The only thing standing between enterprise data security and the BYOD apocalypse is you – the IT Hero. And here are your weapons of survival!
MaaS360 Productions Proudly Presents
The BYOD Survival Zone
MARVEL at meaty resources and templates field tested against the most gruesome of BYOD attacks!!!!
BASK in the bloody blogs boasting beat downs of BYOD infractions!!!!
TURN-ON the terror tubes of m-zombie demise!!!!
CHASE down the chilling case studies chastising the unchaste of BYOD!!!!
BlackBerry10 is coming, BlackBerry 10 is coming!
For months and months….and even more months after initial launch dates were shifted, BlackBerry has rode their advertising and social media horse heralding their return to former greatness like a modern day Paul Revere.
Now BB10 is no longer an illusion, but a reality. If you believe the hype, it’s a reality that is supposed to leave Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors quaking in their “start-up’ booties at the Return of the King between the “supah powah” of the device and the frightening features of the Fusion management console.
IT’S A BRICK AND DROWNING SLOWLY!
I work for a mobile device management company, but quite frankly I look at this announcement and grin like MAD Magazines’ Alfred E. Neuman. I can with certainty say, ‘What, me worry?” because a device is a brick that makes phone calls. What transcends a phone from dumb as a brick to truly smart is the data management for the end-user and the productivity suites that turn that data into meaning for our feeble human minds. At the end of the day, mobility is about Apps (or HTML 5 crafted programs, but you get my drift).
I FIND YOUR FAITH IN LACK OF APPS DISTURBING
70,000. A big number for almost anything in this world…except Apps. But 70,000 is the current number of Apps sitting in BB World store. Apple and Google tout millions. Now granted, with Android you’re playing a game of App Russian Roulette. Their open source mantra leaves the doors wide open for some old gamer guy sitting in his basement in the Ukraine to decry, “All Your Data Are Belong To Us,” but even that’s a fraction in the grand scheme of things. Apple’s walled garden as we all know is a safe-haven. Enterprise adoption proves the faith in the Apple closed-door approach. No need to say more.
Now going back to RIM’s new Red Rider BB gun that is supposed to slay all in its path, I think those that convert will in fact simply shoot their eye out. The pundits and analysts who get early previews to all things tech are saying out of the 70,000 Apps available about 50 that are worthwhile. Out of those 50 Apps, many have a Bird at the end of the title. Great for business, huh?
Compare this again to the Apple App store that has not only sectioned out games from productivity, but have also kindly partitioned those business Apps by verticals like Healthcare mobile productivity.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES BLACKBERRY
There once was a time in the early aught years of the new millennium when I found my BlackBerry a salvation from my truly stupid clamshell flip phone. And most agreed with me, once IT anointed us we played gleefully with our awesome microscopic mouse roller balls in meeting after meeting. It was a new age, and BlackBerry ushered it in.
They lost their way though, and as people who didn’t mind carrying two devices came into the organization with their superior touch-screen swiping, we looked at our BlackBerrys like the carriers of the Ebola virus, only touching them when it was necessary to keep our jobs. And as the Apps continued to grow in other places, we cancelled our Crackberry news subscriptions in droves because who wants to be reminded (especially in email) how lacking they truly are.
BlackBerry is playing very nice with App developers because they realize this enormous blind spot. But will the App developers follow? Not if I was running the business. I would never divert time from something that might possibly maybe work versus the BIG TUNAS already rife for the taking.
Only time will tell, but history should be our guiding light lest we want to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Businesses have relied on anti-virus and malware protection on PCs and Laptops for years. Mobile devices were once immune, but as their ability to behave more like a computer increases, so does the inevitability that blackhats will find new and creative ways to infect these devices and siphon information one app at a time.
100,000 suspicious Apps permeate the Google Play market right now. That’s almost 1/6 of the total number of Apps available for the world’s leading mobile OS, Android. Granted all apps aren’t created equally, so to say your enterprise Androids have a 1 in 6 chance of being infected is an exercise in fear mongering versus fact. However, there is a definitive danger that will only grow larger as mobile devices continue their exponential rise in becoming a commodity for living…and for work.
“Well, We Don’t Use Android”
To say Android will never be part of your enterprise mobility strategy is a false comfort. As Gen Y and Millennials enter the workplace they come packing their own devices. While the term is often referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), these digital natives DEMAND their own devices. Like the Borg from Star Trek, technology is part of their DNA. You can try safeguards to keep them out of email and supposed network “safe” spots like Wi-Fi, but with each new generation of smartphones and tablets it becomes infinitely easier for workers young and old to create their own tunnels of productivity.
“Fine, then Windows Phone 8 it is”
Not so fast. While a walled garden approach to App vetting provides certain comforts as Apple has proven with the iOS, apparently this is not the case with Windows 8. A wunderkind hacker in India, Shantanu Gawde, has apparently found a way to exploit the new mobile OS so nefarious individuals can see all the phone has to offer – including your emails, text messages, contacts and more. The verdict is still out on whether this exploit is bakes into the OS or App related, but regardless, IT managers should still be at the ready to keep a careful eye on Microsoft mobile devices and their burgeoning App market over the next few months.
“OK, we go Apple”
Good call, you’ll probably stay safe from malware, but what about the employee who attaches company info to Facebook, or accidentally shares vital corporate secrets via a mistap when in their WordPress App? Mobile security relies as much on management and smart policies to govern devices as it does on simply ensuring Apps aren’t festering with malware. Blocking social sharing Apps will be imperative for companies where security is a paramount concern. Sadly trying to do this with native management tools becomes an exercise of manual frustration.
End Analysis: Mobile Devices & Apps Need Management
Not all Apps are evil. Healthcare for instance, has been one of the leading industries to see the promise of Apps for better bedside care. But even Apps with the best of intentions could pose a significant information sieve for your organization. In many cases the level of control you will need over Apps and the devices they live on will be dictated by the unique needs of your business. Your mobile device policy will be your first step in defining your control levels over mobility and what will or will not be allowed on mobile devices. Your second step is to find a mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) solution with control granularity to meet your defined security needs and assist in automating the deployment of those standards.
Here’s a Whitepaper/ebook (whatever) I created to serve as a primer for teaching IT neophytes the basics of enterprise mobility and mobile device management.
I will link up the full paper when it finally stops delivering leads for MaaS360 by Fiberlink. Art was provided by the very talented Mr. Greg Leighton.
The ABCs of Mobile Device Management
Securely managing mobile devices, apps and docs doesn’t have to be hard;
in fact, with MaaS360, it’s as simple as ABC…
We cover all the essentials from A-Z
- A is for Android, fragmentation is scary
- B is for BYOD, you can’t control what they carry
- C is for Cloud, used for every device
To get to Z, download your copy of the ABC’s of Mobile Device Management today and see just how simple it is to deploy, secure and manage the latest smartphones and tablets.