Within the past decade, mobile devices have become an integral part of business. Drawn to the convenience and flexibility that these devices offer, many organizations are embracing “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies that allow employees to use their personal devices to access company information. One way they are doing this is with Google Play for Work. The service works on a variety of smartphones and tablets running Android, and it helps to keep company data protected while giving employees access to safe applications that they can download.

Apps Are the Next Big Thing in Enterprise Security

Privacy matters, not just to companies but also to employees. Eighty-six percent of employees that work on mobile devices use their personal smartphone, according to 2015 MobileIron Trust Gap Survey. And while 61 percent trust their employers’ IT department not to snoop, 30 percent of those surveyed say they would leave a job if their boss could see their personal information.

On the other hand, corporate IT departments need the ability to manage, monitor and secure corporate data, wherever it resides. Left unchecked, employees often compromise enterprise security without even knowing it. Sixty-six percent of mobile workers have downloaded and used mobile apps that haven’t been approved by their employers, according to The Security Impact of Mobile Device Use by Employees, a study completed jointly in 2014 between Accellion and the Ponemon Institute. Yet, only 19 percent checked these apps for viruses or malware, and just 22 percent think this is risky for their employer.

So, how can businesses protect their data without intruding on employee privacy?

Google Play for Work, the app store component of the Android for Work program, enables companies to select, purchase and manage apps for their organizations, and to separate this functionality and data from the personal content stored on employees’ devices. This enables IT departments to manage and to secure devices and company data, while keeping workers’ personal information private.

Benefits of Google Play for Business

More than one billion people carry Android smartphones, and enterprises are now embracing this powerful technology, as well. Since the launch of Android for Work in early 2015, more than 10,000 businesses have adopted the platform and its app store.

What are they getting in return?

  • Data Security
    Business data is stored in a self-contained Work Profile on Android devices, which are protected with disk encryption, lock screens, remote authentication services and a hardware-backed KeyStore. IT administrators can restrict the flow of data based on a user’s security status to prevent sensitive information from being shared. If devices are lost or stolen, or if an employee leaves the company, IT can remotely wipe company apps and data without affecting any personal content.
  • App Security
    Apps are secured and managed through Google Play for Work. IT can customize the list of approved apps for employees to download, prevent installation of apps from unknown sources and apply app configurations.
  • App Management
    Google Play for Work offers a wide variety of third-party apps, including Salesforce, SAP, Adobe, MobiSystems and other enterprise solutions. Companies can purchase bulk licenses for paid apps and transfer them to individual users, and IT can automatically apply updates when they become available. Companies can also securely and privately distribute internally developed apps.
  • Productivity and Collaboration
    Android for Work offers easy access to a suite of mobile-optimized productivity apps from Google, including Docs, Sheets and Slides. This makes it easy for employees to create, share and collaborate on documents from anywhere.

While these features and functionality are enough to secure data for many business, highly regulated industries such as government and healthcare may require additional security measures to meet compliance requirements. Android for Work recommends specific devices for these organizations, including the Samsung Galaxy S6 featuring Samsung KNOX.