Is The Android Operating System Too Risky For Enterprise Business?

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It's hard not to like Android devices for the power and functionality that many of them provide: 8-megapixel cameras, long battery life, broad carrier support and an open platform that allows for the creation of tons of great software.

For solution providers or enterprises that have an anti-Apple bias, or a strategy that doesn't include Apple technology, Android is an alluring alternative. And, face it, employees in an organization will use their own Android smartphones and tablets for work even if an enterprise doesn't support them.

But keep an eye on an industry leader in this space: Motorola. No single company can boast more intellectual capital in the Android arena than Motorola, particularly with its consumer devices, yet the company is still moving slowly toward bringing that technology to the enterprise. And it appears to have very good reasons.

Until someone steps up to play a gatekeeper role with the Android app ecosystem, it may be difficult for enterprises to feel enough confidence to trust it with its corporate data. That's a shame.

Because Android is open-source technology, like Linux, and maintains many Linux features, some observers said early on that Android would simply be as secure as Linux. But Linux devices have never hit the consumer mainstream like Android, and have never been as big a target for hackers.

Android devices are on track for a record year in 2011, according to new estimates from the likes of research firms Gartner and IDC. That could mean more pressure on solution providers and CIOs to provide devices and the security and support to go with them. This pressure will be difficult to resist but, in the long run, may be the best course of action for many businesses and government entities.

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