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Google Apps for Android gets enterprise security, management

Oct 29, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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Google has added enterprise security support to its Google Apps for Android 2.2. Newly enabled features include support for remote wipe, remote idle lock, improved password protection, and a new Google Apps Device Policy app, says the company.

Google has added enterprise management and sync support for Google Apps to its Android 2.2 mobile platform. The move should prove useful for IT managers as more Android smartphones are used for business.

Android devices, such as the entire Droid line from Verizon Wireless, already sport native Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar apps, with mobile access to Google Docs. Running in handsets such as the Motorola Droid, Droid X and Droid 2 (pictured), Android 2.2 is the first version of the open source OS with extensive enterprise support.

The build includes policy management APIs that enable remote wipe, and features to manage Microsoft Exchange on smartphones. However, until now, Google Apps had not been tuned to support such data security features.

Google said that IT administrators will now be able to: remotely wipe all data from lost or stolen mobile devices; lock idle devices after a period of inactivity; require a device password on each phone; set minimum lengths to boost password security; and require alphanumeric passwords. Moreover, the administrator can shield corporate information from employees who leave a company.

This is a big deal. Good Technology has found in its installations that many employees are using their own Android or iPhone handsets — that is, not corporate issue — for work communications.

Google Apps Device Policy app
(Click to enlarge)

Google noted that these policies can be enforced through a web browser on devices that have installed the Google Apps Device Policy application (pictured above), which will be available from Android Market in the next few days. The app will be available free to all Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers, accessible from the Mobile tab under Service Settings in the Google Apps control panel.

Interestingly, Google already offers most of the aforementioned security policy capabilities for other major platforms. Google began supporting Research in Motion's Blackberry Enterprise Server in August 2009, and covered Apple's iPhone, Nokia S60, and Windows Mobile last February.

With more than 200,000 Android devices activated each day, some of which are being used by corporate employees for business communications, it was high time for Google to do the same for its own platform.

Availability

The Google announcement of the new enterprise features for Android 2.2 Google Apps may be found here. More information on Google Apps may be found here.

Clint Boulton is a regular contributor to our sister publication eWEEK.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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