Back when Blackberry first introduced email and internet facilities on their devices, they quickly became the preferred brand for corporate employees across the world. With their target segment mainly being enterprise consumers, Blackberry enjoyed a market share of 35-50% at their peak, from 2007 to 2011. This was down to not only the high data security and encryptions provided on their devices but also to the fact that their devices allowed for the balance feature, with separate work and personal profiles.
What Blackberry lacked in terms of design and display, were quickly made up for by Android devices from several device makers, which came to be well preferred due to touchscreens, user-friendly interfaces, wide range of apps, etc. And all of this despite fears over Android’s security due to its open source software architecture. Yet today, Android enjoys 87% market share in the smartphone and enterprise devices domains. This can be largely attributed to Google’s focus on enhancing features, security, and user interface which helped Android skyrocket into the retail and enterprise spaces. Once this was achieved, they started focusing on stability and enterprise features, apart from adoption in segments such as Smart TVs and Automotive.
To boost confidence among users of Android, Google introduced multi-layered security and privacy protections in Android. They began by providing an Android Security Bulletin (ASB) every month with fixes for CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) which has helped smartphone makers to regularly provide security management releases (SMR)/security updates to end-users. Google has also introduced certifications after providing comprehensive test suites such as CTS, VTS, STS, GTS and Android Enterprise Program (AER) to ensure that end users do not face any security vulnerabilities on their mobile devices.
This paved the way for corporates to allow use of personal devices for professional work, thus popularizing the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) concept. Today, Android devices are being used even in data sensitive industry segments such as banking and healthcare. One of the most important enterprise features that have been introduced in Android recently is the separate work-profile (remember Blackberry?). As a part of this, Google has introduced the features such as:
- Device provisioning
- Enterprise Mobility management that allows IT admins to
- Enforce password policies
- Erase data and lock the device remotely
- Enterprise App Management
- Managed application store
- Silent application distribution to distribute work apps to devices without user interaction
Android has progressed significantly in order to become suitable for enterprise use with enterprise features, test suites, stability, certifications, and the AER program through which Google guarantees five years of security support for devices of end customers. And yet, it still needs to catch up to the needs of enterprise users. Smartphones too are entering the AER program and are being used extensively by enterprise users.
With recent reports on the theft of critical data that can interrupt the normal functioning of an enterprise, upping security is the primary concern now. Enterprise users are still expecting some more features such as:
- Restrict device use within authorized groups of employees and provide access to applications and services based on their job roles
- Restrict use of mobile devices in critical locations such as labs and conference rooms within enterprises
- More secure authentication with biometrics such as face ID, fingerprint/retina scanning, etc.
Sasken is developing enterprise-grade Android stack with enterprise features including above mentioned features. With over 1200 person months’ experience, Sasken has played a crucial role in delivering Android Security Management services and addressed 6000+ CVEs on 90+ models for both consumer electronics and enterprise device customers. Sasken’s Android Security Management Center of Excellence (CoE), comprised of Android Security Management experts and an Android Security Management lab, provides subscription-based Android Security Management services that enable OEMs to reduce efforts in managing security upgrades and provide long-term maintenance of security upgrades.
Find out more about our expertise in Android across multiple industries here.
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