More than 10,000 companies testing or using Android for Work, says Google

Google for Work adds security and management to the mobile operating system.

Google has said more than 10,000 companies are using or testing 'Android for Work', its set of technologies aimed at making the operating system more useful to business.

While Android devices are hugely popular with consumers, adoption by businesses has been held back by concerns about security and management, which Google's effort has set out to address.

Google said that more than 10,000 businesses, including the World Bank, the US Army and Guardian Life Insurance Company are "testing, deploying or using" Android for Work.

According to Google, Woolworths is looking to standardize on Android for corporate devices, and Guardian Life Insurance Company deployed Android for Work to enable its employees and field agents to work from anywhere on their personal devices.

Daniel Johnson, CTO at Guardian Life, said: "With Android for Work we're able to offer Android as a BYOD option in a more secure and manageable way."

The idea of the Android for Work programme is to add security and management to Android devices.

It consists of four technology components:

  • Work profiles: Building on the default encryption, enhanced SELinux security enforcement in Android 5.0 Lollipop it offers a dedicated work profile that isolates and protects work data. IT can deploy approved work apps alongside users' personal apps, without mixing the two.
  • The Android for Work app. For devices running Ice Cream Sandwich through Kitkat there is an Android for Work app to deliver secure mail, calendar, contacts, documents, browsing and access to approved work apps, which can be completely managed by IT.
  • Google Play for Work allows businesses to securely deploy and manage apps across all users running Android for Work.
  • Built-in productivity tools. Google has built a suite of business apps for email, contacts and calendar

Google said the project is now supported by 40 companies, including new device manufacturers, application makers and management providers.

Among those joining are mobile carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Rogers, Bell Canada, Telus Mobility and KT - which are now offering support for Android for Work.

Silent Circle said that its BlackPhone 2 device, due later this year, will support Android for Work. David Puron, SVP of engineering and devices at Silent Circle, said: "with support for Android for Work, companies can strike their own balance of control over data and connectivity with established productivity services that are used throughout enterprise."