Why Android for Work is now ready for the public sector

By Andy Roberts: Head of Enterprise Mobility, Telefónica UK

Having recently attended an event at Google’s offices in London I felt compelled to write a blog. I have been a self-confessed Apple fan since June 2007 when the iPhone launched, loving its innovative hardware design, simplicity to use and primary focus on the end user experience. In my opinion, it re-invented the way we saw phones. I considered Android more as a consumer product written by “techies” who wanted more flexibility and configuration options, but wasn’t robust or secure enough for business purposes. I have to say I’ve been forced to rethink this view.

We use Google products every day in some shape or form, whether it’s Google Search to find things, locating somewhere using Google Maps, or Google Docs to collaborate and share information with our friends and colleagues. Google demonstrated some very impressive statistics and facts, for example 2 million searches per second using their search engine and the fact that Chrome is now the world’s most popular web browser. Considering their late entry into the browser market, the latter is pretty impressive, but also how “Googling” something as a point of reference seems to come as second nature to most of us.

My biggest takeaway from the event was the emphasis Google places on security, working closely with the CESG on areas such as Cloud Security Principles, Offshoring of information and compliance such as PSN. Mobilising workforces means the level of security and controls to protect information increases, and from hardware to operating systems, connectivity, application, cloud platform, you’re only as secure as your weakest link. Highly regulated organisations such as the armed forces or blue light services may opt for Samsung KNOX, a ‘defence-grade mobile security platform built into our newest devices’. However many of the same options are also available natively with Android using ‘Android for Work’, which is a great option for customers.

The addition of Android for Work also introduces the ‘Google Play for Work’ App Store, which allows the organisation to present a customised Google Play store containing only approved applications, preventing unauthorised apps from being downloaded onto the device. This can be presented within the Android workspace in both Work/Personal and Workspace only modes.

Google and O2 are working together to help transform the way organisations work with security, and user experience is at the heart of this. We are the only mobile provider in the UK to have CAS(T) accreditation, meaning we have the most secure systems and processes of any UK network. We have been on the mobility journey ourselves and want to help organisations across the public sector to simplify the complex. Working closely with partners such as Google allows us to help our customers focus on what really matters: their citizens and their people.

The perfect middle-ground is what most businesses are after – secure enough to meet the regulatory and compliance requirements, but not to the detriment of putting people and their experience first. Let me know your thoughts on Android for Work – get in touch with me on Twitter @andyroberts1889