Apple’s iOS. However, in the US, Android is now the leading smartphone operating system, according to some reports. Android is renowned for its customizability, which means it’s quite possible for someone in your company to find shortcuts and workarounds to access business data, even if your IT system doesn’t officially support the Google’s mobile OS. Clearly, at this moment, Android’s pedigree as an accomplished business platform is a rather short one.
BlackBerry as a system still offers the gold standard for enterprise needs, in fact, early Android devices lacked mandatory security features. Although each Android update raises the bar in terms of security and usability, Google needs to do much more to appeal the hard-to-please business community.
BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) provides solid power and control, which still can’t be matched by Android. These are things Google needs to do to make Android a better business platform.
1. Better screen locking feature.
In the enterprise, business mobile devices should have better security features than typical consumer-level smartphones. A simple locking feature, like dragging the button with finger is a common way to unlock a screen. Android should be able to offer a more complex screen locking pattern using a combination of more complicated finger gestures and password.
2. Make anti virus program mandatory.
There have been cases when mobile malware hit the Android MarketPlace, which necessitate a reliable antivirus program. An Android device should strongly nag the user, when such program is unavailable.
3. Use multifactor authentication.
Android OS should have a built-in multifactor authentication feature. Although, third-party apps, such as PhoneFactor and SecureAuth can offer multifactor authentication for any Android device, this feature should be a standard in a stock Android OS. Multifactor authentication allows users to access enterprise application and data securely. It would also be handy if the phone can manage user IDs stringently as if they are in a LAN.
4. Use better security policies.
There are currently more than 450 policies in BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Google can catch up by enforcing security policies using Google Apps. A proper implementation of Google Apps will make it easier for administrators to enforce common policies such as setting screen-lock timeouts, encrypting data and requiring passwords. Wiping data remotely on a stolen or lost device can also be performed reliably.
5. Use Mobile Device Management.
This will allow users to get better BES-like functionalities. Currently, a number of MDM vendors offer BES-like features for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. Sybase’s Afaria and Good Technology are currently used by some Android users to acquire MDM functionality. MDM allows users to set role-based access rights, partition corporate data, wipe enterprise data remotely and enforce a tight password policy.
6. More secure and integrated mail.
Gmail is the default email client for Android devices and it should be easy for Google to tweak its mail service to achieve the security standards for enterprise users. Gmail is perfect for those who want to have quick and practical mail service, but unfortunately it lacks Microsoft Exchange integration. In addition, Android also lacks a complete file encryption system. By default, Android should offer a reliable client service for Exchange, which ensures a secure access to notes, tasks, contacts, calendar and corporate mail. Obviously, it should also accept standard Exchange security policies, including password refresh and enforcement; and SD card encryption. The built-in service should partition itself, which prevent other apps from accessing the Exchange data.
7. Better calendar
It would be useful if Android includes some features similar to full-blown, desktop version of Outlook. For example, Android should, by default, allow users to link contacts to calendar, create custom fields and color code calendar events.
8. Use mobile virtualization
An effective way to secure data is to create a “walled area” or partition, which prevent apps and services from other partitions to interact with critical enterprise data. However, it shouldn’t prevent users from pulling out critical information easily.
There is a risk that damaging mistakes can occur when users toggle back and forth between business and personal apps. A good way to prevent it is by deploying Android images issued by the company as virtual machines. It is essentially a business-version OS, which is entirely partitioned away from the stock Android OS. In theory, Android allows businesses to employ customized virtualization on mobile devices to ensure better security and specialization.
9. Input optimization.
BlackBerry users argue that iPhone and most Android devices lack physical keyboard. Google should allow users to swipe their fingers around the onscreen keyboard. In addition, voice enablement can help users to make the most of their Android devices. This feature allows quick navigation to a website, for example “Go to YouTube” or users can call suppliers, simply by saying, “call parts manufacturer”. Voice command can also make it easier to get directions and create email or text message.
Many of the above features are not be needed by typical phone users, which mean they should be disabled by default and can be activated in the Settings menu. It would be helpful, if these features can be enabled simultaneously by bringing the device into the “enterprise mode”.
Obviously, there are ways for Android to elevate its status as a dependable “mobile business platform”. Fluid email and calls management are no longer enough; a business platform should focus on convenience, security and productivity.
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