Yesterday, in the midst of a discussion about what the R2 release for System Center 2012 will bring to Windows Intune for managing Android devices, an interesting thread began. If you follow industry news you understand that Android is considered a bit iffy when it comes to security, and of course, Google gets slammed constantly for privacy concerns. Yet, consumers continue to purchase Android devices in droves. It's very similar, I guess, to how Adobe products are known to be very unsecure, but they are still used the world over. Android is the new Adobe. But, Android has the potential to make Adobe look like a small-time chump.
During our discussion, I joked that the best Android feature of Windows Intune is the remote wipe capability. This comment kicked off a conversation about how companies truly feel about the security of Android devices.
What I didn’t know prior to the community conversation is that many companies have policies against Android devices being used for business due to the perceived lack of security. iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone all have a place within in the IT infrastructure, but Android sits outside the circle of trust. So, while Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) generally means "you bring it, we'll support it," that's not necessarily the case. Enterprises still have standards.
In a day where vendors are trying to push companies to adopt BYOD to supposedly save money (which we now know is a wash for most), prohibiting devices that have become more popular than an iPhone is a tough prospect. Recent reporting from IDC shows that devices running Google's Android are the most purchased and activated, sending iOS devices, once shining stars, shooting for the nearest mountain range. Android continues to rise, quarter after quarter, sitting atop the device heap and tramping down the competition.
For those companies where the end-users have more control over IT than IT itself, some have turned to developing separate BYOD policies – one for Android and one for everything else. If BYOD was put in place to save money, having two separate policies surely increases the overall cost of the implementation and ongoing support, doesn't it? And, beyond the dire security aspect of Android, Android is also the easiest to jailbreak, causing the devices to become even more unsecure and unmanageable.
So, what's your take on this? Does your company allow Android devices to connect to the corporate network? Does your company have multiple BYOD policies? Have you found a best-case solution for dealing with Androids in the Enterprise?
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