Android device management: Everything you need to know in one guide

Guide to consumer mobile operating system features

Android device management: What you need to know

Most mobile devices out there in user-land run some version of Google's Android operating system. But that doesn't mean the OS is perfect for the enterprise.

When it first came out, the Android operating system was without very many enterprise features and the devices were geared towards consumers. In recent iterations of the OS, however, Google has added some better Android device management capabilities. Despite the move toward a happy enterprise/Android friendship, application malware and security concerns persist.

But allowing Androids in your company isn't necessarily out of the question. Take a look at the issues you could run into and check out the OS-native and third-party ways you can guard against those problems.

In this part:

Awesome Android business apps
Users may not know that their Android tablets are invaluable productivity tools. Business apps for editing, mobile printing, remote access help users get more done, especially from outside office walls.

Android MAM solves only some security problems
Mobile application management for Android lets you control app distribution, regulate app use, build an app store, blacklist apps and more. But you'll need device access controls to lock down devices running blacklisted apps or prevent devices from accessing the corporate network.

Android device management features: Good, not great
New versions of Android's OS have encryption and remote-wipe improvements, which is good. But users need to install third-party apps so you can use Android's management APIs and other common management features.

Apps and OS features for tablet security
Security features built into Android tablets -- screen locks, Find My Mobile and encryption -- are steps in the right direction. But you'll need third-party apps to really lock down devices.

Google Bouncer: More app security, but not enough
The anti-malware tool Bouncer scans Google Play for malware like a doorman does for fake IDs. But sometimes the fakes look like the real thing and make it into the app store. Bouncer only adds a layer of security. It isn't the be-all of Android app security.

IT's Android security issues
The knocks against Android are that there aren't centralized Android device management options and that the apps are loaded with malware. But before you board up your windows to fend off the Android apocalypse, know that new versions of the OS improve these security issues.

Android users need malware protection
Not every app users download from Google Play is secure: Users need Android malware protection. It doesn't matter which third-party malware protection application they download, as long as they download one.

Android remote control apps are not toys
When you see "remote control" you might think of cars or TVs, but that's not what you'll get with Android remote control apps. You'll get remote management, network analysis, port scanning, remote access and PDF viewing capabilities -- which are almost as cool as an RC car or flat-panel display.

Android 4.0 device management features
In Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, you get a smattering of tasty enterprise features -- more full-device encryption, enhanced VPN connectivity and new memory technology. The cherry on top is a feature that lets users monitor data use.