Android for enterprise: Google specifies devices and guidelines

Google has laid down the minimum standards for smartphones to ensure their safe and effective use in the enterprise.

With its latest Android Enterprise Recommended program, Google has given a boost to the confidence of business organizations for the use of Android devices at the workplace. In addition to listing certified enterprise-secure devices, the program lays down best Android practices and requirements for enterprise work.

Android devices are one of the main targets for cyber attackers. Even though there are more than 2 billion Android-based devices currently in use, majority of such devices are manufactured by hundreds of big and small third-party manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Blackberry and LG. For this reason, Google has no direct control over the software and security updates in third-party devices, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.

Timely security updates

Most of the third-party manufacturers do not have a designated formal program to distribute security patches and updates, leaving billions of devices vulnerable to cyber-attacks because of delayed or no updates. This is evident from the fact that even after the discovery of Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities in all computing devices, many old devices running on Android have still not received patches. Google says under the Android Enterprise Recommended program, all devices by third-party manufacturers will receive security updates within 90 days of release. 

Device specification guidelines for enterprise mobile devices 
According to Google’s list of specification guidelines for enterprise use, a device should support easy deployment and enrollment in mobile device management (MDM) processes. It must be running on Android 7.0 or later versions of the operating system, have a minimum 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and supported by at least 8 hours of battery life. Google recommends support for bulk deployment of Android devices including zero-touch enrollment.

Currently, the Android Enterprise Recommended has listed 21 devices which it deems safe and efficient for enterprise use. The list includes devices such as BlackBerry KEYone and Motion, Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL, Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, P10, P10 Plus, P10 Lite, and P smart, LG V30 and G6, Motorola X4 and Z2, Nokia 8, Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact, XZ Premium, XA2, and XA2 Ultra.