Google enhances SMB security with Android Enterprise Essentials

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Google says a new suite of Android-based mobile device management tools will extend enterprise-grade mobile security provisions to businesses of all sizes by eliminating the twin challenges of complexity and cost.

Android Enterprise Essentials is based on the same security features used by large organisations and are enabled by default on compatible handsets.

This means there is no need for extensive management, training or skills, reducing the burden on smaller businesses with fewer resources – businesses just hand the device to staff who immediately benefit from additional protection.

Google Android Enterprise Essentials

Google says many SMBs eschew advanced security measures because they either believe they are not as attractive targets for cyberattacks or because they believe such tools are beyond their budgets or levels of expertise.

Most cybersecurity experts would counter that view by arguing that the increased collection of data by organisations of all sizes is a desirable bounty for malicious actors. Meanwhile, privacy legislation such as the EU’s GDPR places new obligations on firms to protect data and levies significant fines for non-compliance.

Without additional protection, SMBs risk jeopardising the productivity and efficiency benefits of mobile technology and open them up to the operational, reputational, and financial damages of a major attack.

Android Enterprise Essentials automatically enables features such as mandatory pass codes and data encryption out of the box. Handsets can also be remotely wiped. This means that even if a device is lost or stolen, the offender cannot access any sensitive information.

Meanwhile, users are prevented from downloading applications from any marketplace than the Google Play store, reducing the risk of malware.

In addition to increasingly security-conscious SMBs, Google is also pitching the service as a starting point for larger organisations that haven’t invested in mobile device management (MDM) technology before.

"Businesses are increasingly telling us their top consideration for investment is in security and increased user productivity," said Mark Bowker, Senior Analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group. "During ESG’s validation of Android Enterprise Essentials, it became quickly evident that the simple management capabilities and seamless employee experience provide confidence in security for businesses and a safer work environment for employees.”

The service will be released in the UK and US first with a view to a global launch next year.

Google already has a separate security and management programme for devices called Android Enterprise Recommended. 

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.