Android for Work vs. iOS: How Google and Apple Build Their Business Containers

A small red suitcase identifies all the apps that belong to Android for Work’s business container.

As a Berliner, seeing Android for Work immediately reminds me of the old song “I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin” by Marlene Dietrich. It’s because a small red suitcase identifies all the icons that belong to Android for Work’s new, secured Android business container.

With Android for Work, Google offers essential aspects that are the same as Apple’s iOS enterprise approaches. Even if it is clear that Apple’s iOS can boast longer experience, both operating systems finally offer the basis for meeting corporate requirements for data protection and security, without limiting the variety of apps or having to annoy the user with special, usually not very user-friendly email apps.

With Cortado Server, we fully support these approaches. Enterprise mobility has never been so secure and so simple to implement.

One Idea, Two Approaches

So-called business containers can be created on a smartphone with iOS and Android for Work. Such business containers delineate a collection of business apps that can only exchange data with each other. This ensures that personal data on the smartphone is kept separate from business data.

The form of implementation is interesting. Whereas Android for Work identifies apps with the suitcase icon and thus makes the Android for Work business container prominently visible, the iOS business container from Apple is hidden from sight.

The iOS Business Container

The iOS business container runs in the background. The data exchange is defined using a managed Open-In, so that this can only occur between managed apps, including the Safari browser and native email app. In addition, any app from the Apple App Store can be defined as a managed app.

Things get interesting when the user wants to use the same app for both personal and business. This works smoothly with Apple’s own email programs and the Safari browser. The distinction here is between managed domain and unmanaged domain. Emails or downloads from managed domains can be loaded only in managed apps.

But what about word processing, for example? There are two alternatives. Either you load a second word processing app on the device or you allow the exchange between the container and the personal apps. The latter is more than suboptimal from a security standpoint.

The Android for Work Container

Android for Work solves this in a fundamentally different way. Apps that are to be used in both the personal and business areas simply run double on the device with a program named “Divide”. One unmanaged for personal use and one managed, as the user can see from the suitcase symbol.

The song “I Still Have a Suitcase in Berlin” incidentally continues with “it stays there too and that makes sense”. The users will have to decide whether that applies to the suitcase from Android for Work too.

Related Resources:

» White Paper: How to setup a secure iOS Business Container

» White Paper: Android for Work: How to integrate Android devices into your company‘s IT

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