G Suite admins get ability to remotely lock company-owned Android devices

More new features land in G Suite after Google enabled alerts for government-backed attacks earlier this week.

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Google has deployed two new features for organizations that use the company's G Suite productivity suite to manage fleets of company-owned smartphones for employee use.

The first of these features allows G Suite admins to lock users' devices. Google added this feature to deal with cases when a company's employee had either lost the device or refused to hand it over after termination. The feature can be used remotely, from the G Suite admin dashboard, without having access to the device.

A more intrusive feature, of wiping devices, is also available, being introduced last year, for similar reasons.

The second new option allows G Suite admins to reset passwords for managed devices remotely. Google added this feature for cases where employees had forgotten their lock screen PIN and needed access to the data on their phone.

This second feature is also in reaction to an earlier feature added in previous years, which allowed G Suite admins also forcibly require users to use a lock screen for their smartphones.

Forcing users to use a PIN-protected phone has, naturally, resulted in cases where G Suite admins had to reflash phones to recover the device for future use, and eventually led to G Suite admins to use Google's powerful control over the Android OS and come up with a way to reset devices from afar.

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Image: Google

All these features are available as part of the Google Mobile Management package available for G Suite customers.

G Suite is an enterprise productivity suite, a product similar to Office 365, made up of commercial versions of Google services such as Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Sites, Slides, Drive, and more. The Google Mobile Management package lets companies with a G Suite subscription manage a fleet of Android devices from a remote location.

Also this week, Google has also forcibly enabled a special type of alert for all organizations with a G Suite account. The alert will warn G Suite admins when one of their employees is the target of a nation-state cyber-espionage operation.

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