Android devices may be appealing on many levels to businesses, but security and centralized management are not among the attractions. Now, a new security and management platform for Android could fill in that missing piece.
The new enterprise platform is the result of a strategic alliance between 3LM, a subsidiary of Motorola Mobility, and BoxTone, which specializes in enterprise mobility management (EMM). The companies said the product is the first full lifecycle embedded security and management platform for mobile devices and apps on Android.
Comparable To BlackBerry and iOS
3LM's mobile-device management platform, combined with security solutions from BoxTone, offers the kind of control and support that IT departments can achieve with BlackBerry and iOS, the companies said.
Tom Moss, co-founder and CEO of 3LM, said in a statement that "BoxTone brings the broad industry credentials, major installed base, multichannel distribution model and EMM platform for integrating the 3LM platform."
The integrated platform enables device encryption of full memory and SD card data , selective encryption of apps, remote control of wiping capabilities, access to in-house systems, application installs, and tracking of devices.
As Android has grown by leaps and bounds, so have stories about security issues. Earlier this month, for instance, a security flaw in HTC Android phones was revealed by a developer. The flaw could make users' personal data vulnerable to being read by most apps on at least several HTC models.
Some observers said the flaw appeared to be specific to HTC phones, and was related to logging tools that HTC introduced in recent updates. That alone could raise issues for IT departments, since various manufacturers could issue updates that compromise their particular Android models, complicating the task of securing an enterprise fleet of phones from various manufacturers.
Android a Malware Target
Android is also now big enough to be a tempting target for malware. According to report released in August by security firm McAfee, the amount of malware targeted at Android devices increased 76 percent over the previous quarter. The report also noted that Android had moved into third place under the category of "most-attacked platform for mobile malware."
Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence, said security and centralized management were key to Android's success in the enterprise market. She noted that, at a conference she attended last month, IT managers were talking about introducing the iPad to their companies, but few wanted to allow Android devices because of "security and tech support issues."
DiDio pointed out that the new 3LM/BoxTone platform is "hardly the first product to attempt to provide security for Android devices," but that it was unique in attempting to secure the entire Android environment, not just apps.
She also said that 3LM's ownership was "absolutely" a factor in Google's decision to acquire Motorola Mobility. Motorola Mobility bought 3LM in February. 3LM was founded by Tom Moss and Gaurav Mathur, who had been part of Google's Android development team.