Google has just unveiled new Android bring-your-own-device (BYOD) management tools for enterprise IT teams to help them improve and tighten their management of user devices in the workplace.
The new tools are being added based on requests from enterprises that are seeking improved ways of securing and managing the devices in the field, according to a June 27 post by Heman Khanna, a software engineer with the Google Apps for Business team, on the Google Official Enterprise Blog.
"More than ever, people are bringing their own mobile phones and tablets to work," wrote Khanna. "This 'bring your own device' (BYOD) trend appeals to companies that want their employees to be productive on the go, with devices they enjoy using. As an admin, your role in a BYOD environment is to make sure users keep their mobile devices secure."
Mobile-device-management (MDM) capabilities are already included in the Google Apps for Business, Government and Education products, but the new features will add improvements into the existing framework that already allows organizations to manage their smartphones and tablets through the existing Google Apps Admin console, wrote Khanna.
The new Android management features from Google include selective wipe, which allows administrators to remove a user's Google Apps account data without wiping all the data from the user's entire device, as well as Secure Digital (SD) card wiping capabilities, which also allow administrators to remove all data from internal SD cards during a full device wipe.
Other new tools are a device policy app that is designed to ensure that security policies are enforced across all devices, as well as a new WiFi configuration tool that allows administrators to enter WiFi settings in the Admin console once and then have them automatically pushed out to all managed Android devices.
Google has been continuing to make strides over the last year to add new services and features to Android to satisfy business users and IT administrators. In April, Google expanded Quickoffice to Android and iPhone users, giving them the same capabilities to modify and edit Office documents on the fly. Google's Quickoffice app debuted in December 2012, but only for iPad users at the time, giving them the ability to make quick edits to Microsoft Office documents shared by others without having to have Office on their devices.
By expanding the service to Android and iPhone users as well, Google opened the door to a broadened user base. The iPhone and Android apps, which are available as free downloads from Apple's App Store and from Google Play, also make it easier to find and use Google Drive files from within the Quickoffice app.
The debut of Quickoffice back in December was a boon for Google Apps for Business users who wanted the ability to open and edit their Microsoft Office files on their iPads.
In December 2012, Google began offering enterprises a new way to distribute their Android apps to employees through their own private app stores set up inside the Google Play Store. The idea was that by allowing businesses to create the personalized channels, they can distribute their own internally built Android apps and approved apps more easily to employees.
The Google Play store debuted in March 2012 to combine what until then were separate sites where Android lovers could buy their favorite apps, music and ebooks. Before Google Play, users had to shop through the individual Android Market, Google Music and the Google e-Bookstore sites.