Google announces new administrative controls for Android

Google this week announced that Android will be getting new administrative controls for enterprises, so that they are able to manage their smartphones in accordance with IT policies.

In a post on the Google Mobile blog, Google announced that any employee with an Android device running 2.2 or above will soon be able to access corporate data, while letting the company IT administrators enforce their security policies on the devices. Google says that the "Google Apps Device Policy" software will allow administrators 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 for more secure passwords
  • Require passwords to include letters and numbers

Some of this has been possible before, with Google Apps Premier allowing any device synchronizing with it to be remotely destroyed. This new software allows deeper control, and according to Google will allow administrators to "withdraw access to corporate info, which allows the employee to continue to use their device if it’s their own."

It's surprising this hasn't been around before now, but its a step in the right direction. The capability for device administration such as this has been built into Android for some time, but only 3rd party applications have utilized it before now.

The application, entitled "Google Apps Device Policy" will be available on the android market in the next few days. Keep in mind that it will only work with Google Apps Premier and Education accounts.

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13 Comments

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I think this is designed for devices purchased by the company. I highly doubt it will be for 'normal' devices that co. Next to a coporate network.

Hopefully this means that google will soon add support for proxy servers to access the Internet, it's one if the big things that puts companies off android.

bmdixon said,
I think this is designed for devices purchased by the company. I highly doubt it will be for 'normal' devices that co. Next to a coporate network.

Hopefully this means that google will soon add support for proxy servers to access the Internet, it's one if the big things that puts companies off android.

I concur about the lack of proxy configuration.

Does "all data" include the OS? Or just all data other than system data? Or just corporate data like e-mail, voice mail, etc.?

If it's the first, I would say NO to Android.
If it's the second and if this can happen on my personal phone which *only* accesses corporate e-mail, I would say NO to Android.
If it's the third, I am okay with it.

Owen W said,

In enterprise, you wouldn't root.

Why not? If they ever switch from BBs to Androids at work...I would root my phone. May not apply a custom rom, but it would be rooted.

techbeck said,

Why not? If they ever switch from BBs to Androids at work...I would root my phone. May not apply a custom rom, but it would be rooted.


Rooting leaves you open to all kinds of data theft. Who knows what's been done to a rooted image.

techbeck said,

Why not? If they ever switch from BBs to Androids at work...I would root my phone. May not apply a custom rom, but it would be rooted.

And your phone would be immediately locked by the next admin.

Owen W said,

Rooting leaves you open to all kinds of data theft. Who knows what's been done to a rooted image.

Which is why you use ROMs from custom developers. And to be honest, given the size of the Android development scene, and the amount of clever people taking part in it, if a custom ROM was stealing your data, it wouldn't take them long to shame the developer.