Android suited up for C-level security

Oct 11, 2011 by Nancy Owano report

( -- Android is enterprise-ready, with this week's announcement of a new security platform for Android, from Motorola Mobility's subsidiary, 3LM (stands for Three Laws Mobility). This is a potential milestone for Android because Android smartphones can now be more of a factor within a trend where enterprise employees take their own smartphones to work and for work.

Android has not broken any records in business uptake, because of reluctance to use a mobile that they have perceived as posing risky security holes.

3LM seeks to remove that barrier considerably with its security platform for . That "platform" is in the form of security and management tools to provide greater business control over applications.

Businesses can remotely install apps for an employee, grant access to the virtual private network, use data encryption, and remote data wipe in case the employee’s device is lost or stolen.

The "enterprise-ready" handheld leader had been Research in Motion, with its Blackberry. Apple's iOS, however, then started gaining in activations and Android was the straggler. Now 3LM expects that, with its security tools, Android can do better in business circles.

Android’s lackluster uptake is what prompted the two founders of 3LM to start the company in the first place. 3LM founders Tom Moss and Gaurav Mather were previously on the Android security team at Google. They wanted to see security take a bigger role in platform design; they were well aware that enterprise and government users were not racing toward Android. They wanted to see if they could come up with a security solution to address the skittishness.

Moss and Mather sought comments from CIOs and CEOs as to which specific functions were wanted on devices running Android. Based on feedback, they saw that security efforts were only going to suffice as hooks into the operating system itself.

Those security features include SD-card encryption and selective encryption of corporate applications, breadcrumb tracking (a navigation aid that allows users to keep track of their locations in programs or documents), and checking of device “health.”

Both Motorola and Google, the company that Moss and Mather left, couldn't be happier. Motorola purchased 3LM in February and Google is in the process of acquiring Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

3LM is to release the product to some other Android manufacturers, not just for devices. Android for the enterprise, then, has a better chance of expanding, since some other Android manufacturers will make use of the new level of and management tools. The software has been in trials with government, health care, retail, and education customers.

The software is to become available this month, and it is to be shown this week at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications 2011 conference in San Diego.

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More information: Press release

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