Android’s New Profile System Segregates Home And Work Profiles, Offers Companies Stricter Control Over Employees’ Phone

Mobile operating system Android will now have multiple “profiles” that will “help” corporate employees better manage their home and work profiles.

Google has taken significant steps for the corporate sector with its new “Android for Work” program. The new data management protocol aims to give businesses more control over the apps and data that employees store on their smartphones.

Google’s Rajen Sheth said in a blog post on Wednesday, “With a group of partners, we’re helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform.”

The most prominent partners include Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) providers, including AirWatch, BlackBerry, Citrix, Google Apps for Work, MaaS360, MobileIron, SAP, and SOTI. In order to bolster the security of the company’s data, management will have to engage with one of these companies to enroll and participate in the Android for Work program.

Though companies will have to use their chosen provider’s software to manage apps and data on their employees’ mobile devices, the employees will be allowed to use their own devices and hardware, a practice commonly referred to as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD).

All Certified Apps Will Feature A Miniature Briefcase Indicating Their Enterprise-Worthiness

At the core of the new “Android for Work” is a new “Work Profiles” for Android phones, which maintains a strict separation between business and personal data. The segregation is made possible by the multi-user support and SELinux security features introduced in Android 5.0 “Lollipop.”

Sheth added, “IT can deploy approved work apps right alongside their users’ personal apps knowing their sensitive data remains secured. People can use their personal apps knowing their employer only manages work data and won’t erase or view their personal content.”

Companies wary of updating the operating platforms need not fret. For pre-Lollipop devices, Google is offering an “Android for Work” app that offers similar profile-separation capabilities on Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and later.

To bolster the security of enterprise data, there’s also a whole new suite of apps for core functions like email, calendar, and contacts that can all be managed from an EMM dashboard via Google’s APIs. Enterprises needing additional apps can ask their employees to install them from the paradoxically named “Google Play for Work” store.

Realizing a long-standing void to meet the needs of an enterprise-grade secure work environment, vendors like Adobe, Box, Concur, SalesForce, SAP, and SuccessFactors have already started development work. The secure “Work Profile” also supports standard networking via VPNs from Cisco, F5, Palo Alto Networks, and PulseSecure.

[Image Credit | Google, Tech2.in.com]