Top 5 Android Marshmallow enterprise security benefits

Google’s new Android Marshmallow operating system offers important new security and ease-of-use features that improve its functionality for both enterprise and individual consumers.

For example, the addition of standard fingerprint authentication now makes it possible for users on any Android Marshmallow device to unlock their handsets with a touch of a finger, or use fingerprint scanning to validate their authorization for purchases through Android Pay. While Android Pay does not send the actual credit card numbers for transactions, such easy device access and transfer of sensitive information would make any IT administrator shudder.

Enterprise customers can rest assured knowing that Google has taken their needs into consideration for Android Marshmallow, offering enhanced security through the Android for Work application. Android for Work is a containerized solution that already offers security by enabling IT administrators to create a separate workspace on Android smartphones and tablets just for business applications. Through the use of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions IT administrators can manage the data within that workspace to keep it secure. For example, they can prohibit copy and paste from applications in the business workspace into applications in the personal workspace.

With Android Marshmallow, Android for Work enables additional security features. These top five enhancements allow IT administrators to provide even more powerful security and management features without disrupting the user experience:

1. Silent installs – IT administrators can install and uninstall applications without user interaction. The one-step provisioning and update of applications works for both Corporate Owned Single Use (COSU) and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) devices and applications. Because installs can be managed through a single console, IT administrators have additional control over what applications can be downloaded on devices (administrators can disallow Facebook and YouTube for example) and allows for improved security by eliminating the need for administrators and users to download applications from the Internet, which could introduce viruses or spyware.

2. Simplified setup – Administrators can easily set up VPNs, certificate management, applications, and permissions automatically over the air (OTA). This capability streamlines processes while also removing security risks from the Internet.

3. Added control over application permissions – A new application permission control set-up feature from the mobile device management console allows administrators to set and lock permissions for any application. Earlier versions of the Android operating system enabled permissions during the application installation process, but would not allow changes later in the process. By granting permissions quickly during the installation process, users and administrators may have opened the door to unauthorized access to a camera or microphone, for example, that could be used to spy on or phish users. With Android Marshmallow, IT administrators and users can make changes at any time to permissions for features such as microphone, calendar database, contacts database, camera and more.

4. Security – The new Fingerprint Scanner function enhances security by adding a biometric touch to the device and to Android Pay. However, administrators can bypass the fingerprint API for enhanced security of COSU systems. Some IT administrators may want to use a more secure passcode policy across the board, which they can do with Android Marshmallow.

5. Over-the-Air System Update Management – Devices can now be configured to auto-accept Android OS updates without user interaction, which eliminates security issues such as viruses originating from the Internet. This feature, which is important for functions including COSU, gives administrators up to 30 days before installing updates, allowing them the time they need to research the update and then schedule it for a time that is convenient for both the company and its users.

These top five features of Android Marshmallow (along with EMM tools) will help enterprises provision applications more securely, control precisely how their Android-based devices are used, and how data is accessed to ensure sensitive corporate information is kept out of unauthorized hands.