Globally, Android easily secures the largest part of the pie in terms of the mobile operating system market share. However, there is no such thing as “just the one” Android operating system. It is far too fragmented, meaning that countless different versions are in circulation. While this is mainly irrelevant for consumers, it creates a serious problem for companies, especially in the areas of security and productivity. Help is however at hand with Android Enterprise.
Fragmentation – The Eternal Problem
That Android significantly suffers from fragmentation is nothing new. By now, the most current version of Android is 10.0. Yet, when analyzed globally, around 10% of devices are still running 6.0 Marshmallow, which was released in 2015 and no longer receives security patches!
Apple shows how it can be done better. With the release of a new iOS version, all compatible devices get an update recommendation, which the user can then follow. This leads to a rapid rollout of the latest iOS versions.
This essentially leads to two problems:
- Security is drastically compromised for businesses where outdated Android devices are used. In the Bring Your Own Device era, employees unintentionally create the biggest security loophole just by using their outdated Android smartphones and tablets in the company. Faster updates by the manufacturer would resolve this issue. Enterprise mobility management allows you to manage this problem, but not eliminate it.
- A second problematic area is compatibility. A single version of the operating system on mobile devices means that apps and other systems (such as corporate cloud services) always work. The current situation means that developers must either take into account these obsolete Android versions or choose not to support them. Both of these scenarios are far from ideal.
Fortunately, there are some bright minds working at Google who have long recognized this problem.
A Business and Productivity-Focused Android System
Android Enterprise allows for secure, productive use of all Android smartphones. The purpose of Android Enterprise is to make life easier for those providing enterprise mobility management solutions – especially in the following areas:
Specific apps can only be installed via Managed Google Play. Decision makers in IT can also prevent unauthorized apps from ending up on mobile devices, whilst also being able to configure and installed apps remotely. A large security loophole – namely the users themselves, who are not always aware of the implications of their decisions – is finally closed.
The interface allows you to create special work profiles, which are separate from private profiles on mobile devices. This also benefits employee privacy – personal data remains protected with IT admins having no access to e-mails, images or similar data. At the same time, there is no risk that business-critical data ends up outside the business.
Devices which are compatible with Android Enterprise have hardware-based disk encryption as well as lock screens with high-level passwords and can make use of remote certificates. If a mobile device is lost or stolen, there is less of a risk of potential loss of data.
What Does the Future Hold? Android Enterprise Cannot Be Ignored
With its exemplary update policy, Apple still follows an effective strategy. However, Android Enterprise offers a tried and trusted framework for integrating practically all Android versions into the workplace. It is now so mature that its feature set even surpasses Apples own framework in some places. The Android Work Profile being a good example.
Recently, Google and the device manufacturers have become faster when it comes to rolling out new versions – this forms the base for gaining a foothold in the business market. A single operating system environment is not currently on the horizon. Due to the billions of devices in circulation, that goal is still a good bit away, but in the coming months and years we are sure to know more.