Android 12 to bring new enterprise features, work profiles for all

Android 12 to bring new enterprise features, work profiles for all
22 Oct, 2021

Even before the pandemic, most professionals were using mobile devices for work-related tasks. During remote and hybrid work this dependence has grown considerably and with it, the challenge for IT teams to manage an even larger number of mobile devices.

This has made enterprise mobility, particularly mobile security and device management a top priority for most IT leaders.

Keeping these things in mind, Google has launched a bunch of new enterprise focused features that will be available with Android 12. 

In an official blog post, Rajeev Pathak, Senior Product Manager at Google, highlights some of these new features, which includes the expansion of work profile to non-managed devices, better password complexity, new APIs that support zero trust security and better device management that would work for all organizations. 

According to Pathak, Google is also going to offer a reward of up to $250,000 to security researchers and ethical hackers for a full exploit of a Pixel device running Android Enterprise.

Security-centric features

Some of the prominent security features for Android Enterprise users that are expected to roll out with Android 12 include improved password complexity controls, the option to disable USB signalling on company devices to mitigate USB-based attacks, and access to new security controls that will keep Android Work profile private. 

Further, in line with the zero-trust security policies being adopted by enterprises, Google says it has developed many APIs and tools that support Zero Trust on Android. This would allow organizations to create different tiers of access based on device signals and other factors. For instance, access will be denied to devices that do not have the most recent security patch or exhibit signs of running a compromised OS. 

With Android 12, Google is also moving away from WebView to Custom Tabs for authentication. According to Pathak, Custom Tabs is more advanced, which allows "identity providers to gather device trust signals, improve employee security and enable single-sign-on across apps and the web."

Work profile and device management

A major addition in Android 12 for enterprise users is going to be the availability of Android work profile to unmanaged Google Workspace users from next year. Earlier the work profile was only available on managed devices.

This will allow anyone using an Android device for work to keep business apps separate from personal apps, in a completely different interface. 

Work profile has been a very useful tool for enterprise users. In addition to the primary job of keeping their personal and work apps separate and achieving better work-life balance, it also improves security for business apps and data.

Further, Google has added a bunch of new device management tools that can be tailored to fit the needs of both large enterprises and startups. It includes a new Android Management API Extensibility framework, which will enable enterprise mobility management (EMM) to adjust Android Management API capabilities on the go using on-device signals and implement immediate policy changes for unique business needs.

Google said, more than 60 EMMs including Microsoft, Citrix, and Google Workspace have already launched solutions using it.