Androids Security Gaps Make IT Managers Nervous

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-08-02 Print this article Print


But there are issues beyond security. For example, you can't attach your Android device to your computer and sync your Outlook or Lotus Notes contacts, calendar and other material with your phone. First you have to sync with Google. This adds an extra step, and it's a step that a lot of companies don't want to take. This is a significant issue that explains why RIM and Apple fit more comfortably into the enterprise in many cases. 

Of course, much of the reason why Google collects the data it collects, and why it demands that Google's applications be used for synchronizing information, is that Google wants to build up its own choices rather than Microsoft's. This may be understandable, but it's the wrong answer for large enterprises. These companies aren't about to abandon Outlook or Notes and go with something they view as unproven. 

This was a prominent area of concern for security managers I interviewed when I was preparing my upcoming feature on the collision between consumer and business technology. They don't view Android as being completely enterprise-ready. Fortunately, there are companies that can provide additional software that will remedy this, but not every enterprise wants to spend this money if they can avoid it. It's much easier to simply decide that Android devices aren't quite ready for prime time. 

Whether there is, in fact, a lack of enterprise-level features in Android devices is beside the point. Right now the perception is that the Android phones aren't enterprise-ready. If Google really intends to have Android take over the market share currently owned by RIM and Apple, then this perception will have to be changed. To accomplish this, Google is going to have to improve security, find a way to protect personal data either from malware or from Google, and provide a way for companies to connect more completely with the corporate environment. 

While it may meet Google's goals to have the world going to Google for all information, it doesn't necessary meet the goals of its customers, especially when those customers are companies that really don't want to share their critical data with Google, or to store it in Google's cloud. With those goals, Google is effectively kissing the enterprise goodbye. Perhaps that's OK with Google, but I suspect it's not-otherwise why would the company have gone to the trouble to include the enterprise tools that are there already? More likely, the company just needs a more customer-oriented focus.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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