A prominent mobile app distribution and management service for the iPhone is expanding to support Android as well.
"Part of the reason we weren't on Android before now is there wasn't as much demand," said Cimarron Buser, VP of marketing for Apperian, in an interview at Enterprise 2.0 in Santa Clara, Calif., a UBM TechWeb event. However, that is now starting to change, and Apperian made the Android version of its EASE mobile management service available this week.
"We're seeing the emergence of Android as an enterprise device," Buser said. Further adoption will be spurred by partitioning and virtualization technologies that make it possible to separate business and personal apps and data on Android phones, he said. Verizon is planning to introduce phones running VMware's virtualization for Android, coming in the next few months.
That's important to companies pursuing a bring your own device strategy, where employees use their personal communication and computing devices for work. Among other things, it means corporate data would be protected from malware problems with personal apps. Even though Apple is an accidental player in enterprise mobility, the tight quality control it exercises over the apps released on iTunes is a positive for security. Google's more lax policy with the Android market has raised a "security issue or perceived security issue" that the new partitioning technology and general maturation of the technology are helping alleviate, he said.
[ Want to avoid Android App stinkers? See 10 Android App Flops. ]
The Apperian EASE cloud service functions as an alternative to the Apple iTunes App Store or, now, the Android market, which can be customized and branded for corporate use. Enterprises make selected applications available through EASE, and they can also provide bundles of applications they want all employees to download, Buser said. If an employee quits or is fired, an administrator can remotely remove those corporate applications and the data they contain.
"Notice I didn't say 'wipe the phone,'" Buser added. Another approach to mobile device management is to install software on the phone that allows an administrator to wipe it clean of all data. Buser said Apperian's approach respects the fact that users will typically have personal data on their phones that should not be covered by that corporate wipe command, he said.
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