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11 April 2011, 12:43

Android: more security for business apps

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Google intends to make the business use of Android devices more attractive and secure and has introduced various new and improved apps to achieve this aim. For instance, the new version of the "Google Apps Device Policy" app is designed to allow business users to secure a lost or stolen Android 2.2+ device by remotely resetting the device PIN or password, and to prevent unauthorised access by locking the device. The app also attempts to help users find their devices by ringing the device and by displaying its current location on a map.

On devices that run Android 3.0, such as the Xoom, administrators can enable the "Encrypt Data on Device" option in the app's control panel to encrypt the data stored on a device. Previously, Android didn't have much to offer in this respect. By comparison, the iPhone generally supports transparent hardware encryption. However, this feature was originally designed to provide fast deletion of stored contents rather than prevent intruders from accessing information. Deleting 16 GB can take relatively long time, while deleting a key only takes fractions of a second, but produces the same result. Independently of Google, Nexus devices can also be fully encrypted via the WhisperCore extension created by developer Moxie Marlinspike.

Another app called "Google Apps Lookup" is designed to help business users contact their colleagues. The app displays such relevant data as a contact's email address, telephone number or IM ID from the Google App directory. However, these new business apps are only available to Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers.

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