In our continuing series on best practices for securing documents, let’s now dig deeper into another tool that can help provide protection of your data in a mobile work environment: Android for Work. As we mentioned in our kick-off post to this series, WPS Office is fully integrated with Android for Work, and earlier this year announced the launch of its latest Android app via this platform. This is important since WPS Office already has more than 550 million Android users and more than 875,000 Google Play reviews.
The Android for Work app is designed for devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat; it can also be used on smartphones that don’t natively run work profiles. IT can completely manage the app, which delivers secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps.
A huge benefit of Android for Work is that it allows users to separate business apps from their personal apps on their Android device. But in addition to the convenience factor of enabling usage for both work and play, Android for Work offers a more secure method for businesses to entrust their documents. By providing both functions, Android for Work balances an organization’s need for data security with an employee’s need for a simple and convenient mobile work environment.
Here are some of the key ways that the app performs this vital function:
- Sharing restrictions. The app can be set up to provide additional protection from both internal error and external threat. It does this through a new sharing-restrictions feature that limits sharing of documents from within the app. This provides greater security for those files, since businesses can customize the app to secure employees’ usage and sharing. In addition to sharing restrictions, Android for Work makes it easy for employees to tell what other business apps they can share with using work app badges and separate work notifications.
- Work profiles. When Google announced Android for Work in 2015, the company identified work profiles as one of the four key technology components of the program that helps to secure the Android platform. Building on Android 5.0 Lollipop’s default encryption, multi-user support, and enhanced SELinux security enforcement, the program offers a dedicated work profile that both isolates and protects work-related information. IT administrators can keep sensitive data secured even while deploying approved work apps alongside employees’ personal apps. Employees feel more secure as well, knowing their personal apps and content won’t be viewed or erased since IT only manages work data.
- Secure deployment. Using Google Play for Work (an enterprise version of Google Play), organizations can securely manage apps across every user who runs Android for Work. This not only simplifies the app distribution process but also ensures that an administrator approves deployment of any app, adding another level of security.
- Document protection. Android for Work prevents users from opening unknown documents from email and apps. It also offers overwrite protection, which keeps employees from accidentally overwriting or mis-editing important documents.
- Safeguarding information. The app ensures that sensitive information isn’t loose or exposed, making it simple for employees to keep company data secure. Since Android for Work takes care of this function, it eases the burden on employees, who need not worry about putting their company at risk.
- Neutralizing threats. Android for Work creates a secure framework for administrators to put any app in Google Play to work for them in a way that is both standardized and easy. Through Google Play for Work, IT can easily manage work applications while ensuring threats to data security like malware are neutralized.
- Data and privacy control. If an employee loses a device or leaves the company, IT can remotely wipe their work apps and data, while keeping the employee’s personal apps and content intact. This offers privacy protection for employees while securing business files.
- Platform security. Google has designed its Android for Work enhancements to combine seamlessly with Android platform security and Google services to deliver comprehensive protection across devices, data, and apps. Android for Work devices receive protection via a number of safety features, from disk encryption and lockscreen to remote attestation services and hardware-backed keystore. By separating business data in a work profile as explained above and protecting that data device-wide on all work-managed devices, IT can apply policies to help prevent data leakage. Finally, because of the deployment of work apps through Google Play for Work, administrators can prevent unknown or unauthorized sources from installing apps and apply app configurations for added security.
As you can see, Android for Work offers multilayered security to help safeguard documents and data for both companies and employees. In our next and final installment in our security best practices series, we’ll explain the important role that App Store Permissions play in protecting your personal information.