Introducing Android Enterprise: Everything You Need to Know
March 23, 2023
Android Enterprise (AE) is a platform for mobile device management that launched with Android Lollipop in 2014. Initially called “Android for Work,” it was designed to provide a secure and separate profile for work-related data and applications on employees’ personal devices. The MDM market is growing rapidly, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the global Mobile Device Management (MDM) market was valued at USD 3.2 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 15.7 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 28.9% from 2021 to 2026. Since its inception, AE has grown to be used by over 300 million devices globally, providing organizations with the tools they need to secure and manage mobile devices used by their employees. AE replaces the older Device Administrator (DA) and uses a more flexible and consistent set of management APIs, offering superior features and functionality. In this article, we will explore the origins of AE, its growth and adoption, and how it can benefit your organization’s mobile device security and management needs.
Introduction to Android Enterprise
Android Enterprise is a set of APIs and services designed to help organizations manage and secure their mobile devices and apps. Introduced back with Android Lollipop as Android for Work, it has undergone a seismic transformation over the years, becoming the de facto standard for modern management. As of 2022, Android Enterprise offers two main categories of management: personally owned and company owned. These can be further broken down into work profile for personally owned, work profile on company-owned devices (COPE), fully managed, and dedicated.
With a work profile, a separate user profile is created on an employee’s personal device, which keeps work and personal data isolated and separately encrypted. This is particularly useful for personal-use scenarios. Fully managed devices, by comparison, allow an organization complete control over the device and all data on it.
The Evolution of Android for Business
Over the past decade, Android’s evolution in the enterprise world has been fueled by a variety of factors, such as the growing popularity of mobile devices in the workplace, the need for enhanced security measures, and the need for greater control over corporate data. This evolution has led to the development of the highly sophisticated Android Enterprise ecosystem of partners and solutions we see today, from simple work profiles to complex management systems.
However, as companies implement mobile device management solutions, it’s important to strike a balance between the control and access required for business operations and the privacy and autonomy needed by employees. Employees need to maintain a sense of separation between their work and personal lives and have the right to keep their personal information and activities private. Therefore, there is a significant privacy aspect to consider, and thoughtful implementation of policies and practices is necessary to respect both the needs of the business and the rights of individual employees.
Today, Android’s Enterprise ecosystem provides an array of solutions for organizations, including zero-touch enrollment, more granular consistent control across all certified android devices, and integration with third-party mobile device management solutions. Moreover, Android’s partnerships with major mobile device manufacturers have further enhanced its capabilities and made it a popular choice for organizations looking for secure and flexible mobile solutions.
Importance for Business
Dedicated devices designed specifically for enterprise use can provide organizations with a customized and streamlined device management experience, further enhancing the benefits of the Android Enterprise ecosystem. These devices often come with additional features, such as rugged design and extended battery life, which are essential for workers in industries such as manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare.
Key features of AE
Android Enterprise is a powerful mobile device management solution that provides centralized control, robust security, and, most importantly, consistency across all Android devices. This is a significant improvement over the older Device Administrator (DA), which lacked consistency across different Android devices. With Android Enterprise, organizations can easily manage their devices from a single, unified Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) system. An EMM solution allows administrators to remotely configure devices, deploy apps and updates, and enforce policies to ensure that devices are secure and compliant with organizational requirements.
Android Enterprise work profile is a feature that provides a clear separation between an employee’s personal and work data on a single device. The work profile enables users to use a device for work purposes without compromising their personal data or privacy. With the work profile, users can securely access work-related data and apps without any interference or access to personal data.
With the addition of this feature, administrators can deploy apps and policies exclusively to the work profile, giving them greater control over the device’s usage. This feature also provides a separate app drawer area, settings, and notifications for work-related apps, allowing users to toggle between personal and work modes with ease. Additionally, users can set schedules for when they want to access work-related data, putting them in control of their device usage. Of course, these schedules are subject to the maximum time an organization allows a work profile to be consecutively turned off, to prevent employees abusing the feature.
Managed Google Play
Managed Google Play is a customizable app store for organizations. This store allows IT administrators to select and distribute specific apps to devices in their organization, ensuring that employees have access to the tools they need to get their job done.
Another important feature of Managed Google Play is the ability to deploy and configure apps without requiring users to have a Google account. This is particularly useful for organizations that have employees who use shared devices, as it allows apps to be installed and configured without the need for individual accounts.
In addition, Managed Google Play offers the ability to distribute private apps that are not available in the public app store. This enables organizations to develop and distribute custom apps that are tailored to their specific needs without the risk of those apps being publicly available.
Android Enterprise with Managed Google Play provides organizations with a comprehensive suite of management tools that enable them to manage their Android devices efficiently and securely, ensuring that employees have access to the apps they need to be productive while keeping company data safe and secure.
Managed configuration is a powerful feature offered by Managed Google Play. It allows administrators to configure apps for their organization, pre-populating settings, and ensuring that users have a consistent experience across devices. With managed configuration, IT administrators can enforce policies that control how apps behave, such as disabling certain features, setting defaults, or configuring preferences. This feature is particularly useful for organizations that need to maintain a high level of security or compliance, as it ensures that apps are used in a consistent and secure manner.
Dedicated devices are considered as kiosk mode. This mode enables organizations to configure devices to perform specific tasks or functions, limiting the device’s access to only the necessary apps and features. This is especially useful for organizations that rely on point-of-sale systems, digital signage, or other single-purpose devices. With Android Enterprise, organizations can quickly and easily set up dedicated devices and remotely manage them, reducing the need for on-site IT support.
Benefits of AE for Organizations
Enhanced security is a significant advantage of Android Enterprise, attained through various measures including regular updates, data encryption, and sandboxing. Regular updates ensure that devices are protected against the latest threats, while data encryption ensures that sensitive information is always protected. Sandbox technology allows for the separation of personal and work-related apps and data, reducing the risk of data leakage and unauthorized access. These security features not only protect sensitive data but also enhance overall device performance.
With Android Enterprise, companies can easily manage a growing number of devices with simple and consistent management APIs. This means that organizations can quickly deploy and manage a large number of devices, allowing them to scale their operations as needed. Android Enterprise also provides organizations with advanced security features, such as hardware-backed encryption and secure boot, which help protect devices and data from unauthorized access.
Android Enterprise offers flexible options with a wide range of devices and form factors to choose from. This means that organizations can select the most appropriate device for each task, whether that be a rugged tablet for fieldwork, a sleek smartphone for executives, or a cost-effective device for employees.
Android Enterprise allows for easy management and customization of each device, ensuring that it meets the unique needs of the organization. This flexibility can help organizations to increase productivity and reduce costs by providing the right tool for each job.
Android Enterprise offers extensive customization options to organizations, allowing them to tailor the user experience to meet their specific needs. This can lead to a more efficient workflow for employees and ultimately result in improved productivity and reduced costs. Customization options range from restricting features to deploying a custom launcher.
Android Enterprise offers OEM considerations for dedicated and also bespoke , which enables organizations to work with device manufacturers to create custom devices optimized for their use cases. These customization options can be adapted to cater to diverse industries, such as healthcare, retail, logistics, and defense. For instance, healthcare organizations can leverage Android Enterprise’s HIPAA-compliant features to protect patient data, while retail companies can use the platform for mobile point-of-sale systems and inventory management. By utilizing these customization options, organizations can enhance their efficiency and better meet their specific needs and requirements.
Support and Updates
Android Enterprise Recommended (AER) devices take the Android Enterprise experience even further by meeting Google’s strict hardware and software requirements for enterprise-grade devices. AER devices are designed to ensure smooth operation and up-to-date software, which is crucial for organizations that rely on their devices to perform critical functions. Like all Android Enterprise devices, AER devices receive regular security updates to help protect against new threats and vulnerabilities, making them an ideal choice for organizations that value security and reliability.
Android Enterprise for Bespoke Devices
In conclusion, Android Enterprise (AE) is a powerful mobile device management solution that enables businesses to manage and secure their mobile devices and apps. AE’s comprehensive suite of features and cohesive management across various OEMs with different form factors and price points make it the preferred platform for mobile device management. The importance of AE for businesses that rely on bespoke devices lies in its ability to provide greater security, control, and scalability. With work profiles, fully managed devices, dedicated devices, and Managed Google Play, organizations can manage their Android devices efficiently and securely, ensuring that employees have access to the apps they need to be productive while keeping company data safe and secure.
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