There aren’t many products on the market these days that make me angry, but Google’s Android operating system is still one of them. Software startup 3LM has today announced that they will soon be launching “Enterprise-class device management” for Android devices. This will give system administrators the chance to…
- encrypt data on devices
- create application whitelists and blacklists
- Enforce strong password policies
- Remotely wipe devices
- Control enhanced device security
- Remotely install enterprise apps
- Locate devices remotely
- Give remote access to devices and applications
…among other things. It’s not that 3LM are doing this that makes me angry, it’s the fact that so much of this has to be done by a third-party and not by Google itself.
In a press release the company said…
Addressing enterprise needs for enhanced security and device management, 3LM has collaborated with major handset manufacturers to enable their Android OS-based devices to be enterprise-ready, giving IT enhanced protection and management of the device itself as well as any application installed therein. This enhanced functionality can now be activated by IT administrators through an enterprise server console that is available as part of a complete end-to-end mobile device management platform that 3LM is launching this week.
Now, let’s set aside for a moment the remote management features because Google’s Android operating system wasn’t originally designed or built as, or even intended to be, a corporate product. The problem arises in Google’s seemingly complete inability to deal with the ongoing malware and security threat to the platform.
Any individual or business buying into an iPad or an iPhone knows that every app they download has been checked and vetted by Apple and is known to be fully compatible with their device and free from malware. When Windows 8 launches next year the same will be true of its new Metro apps. With Windows Phone at the moment this is also currently true.
Throw into this the fact that with any Windows tablet, be that Windows 7 or Windows 8 when they arrive, contains all of these remote management features by default through group policy controls and I can’t but wonder why Enterprises would even consider Android devices at all. IT Pros everywhere would surely be up in arms at even such a suggestion.
Google simple haven’t managed security and malware on their platform in any way as effectively as either Apple or Microsoft. Even RIM and HP have better security controls on their app stores than Google.
You may want to flame me for saying this but I’ve been writing about and teaching computer and network security for years now. It’s just too important an issue to be treated flippantly by the operating system authors. Even Microsoft has now grasped this fact with the bundling of anti-virus with Windows 8; something that no anti-virus vendor has so far been up in arms about because it was, frankly, inevitable.
Android users will be able to download the 3LM software from their website next week and I genuinely hope that Android users adopt it. The peace of mind that comes with additional security, and not just in the business space, is worth its weight in gold. There is no word though as yet on how much this software will cost and if there will be discounts for high-volume enterprise clients.
If you are still concerned about security on Android smartphones and tablets however my best advice would be to get a Windows Phone or an iPad (to be fair and balanced). Better still, why not just wait for Windows 8 and get everything you need in the box!?