Google Bulks Up Mobile Controls, Security In Google Apps

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Google earlier this year added a host of mobile device management capabilities in its Google Apps cloud suite and this week Google bulked up the mobile management capabilities in Apps even more, adding a host of new features to help admins and providers manage the Apple iPhone, Nokia and Windows Mobile smartphones.

The new features, Google said, let employees access data from their smartphones while also giving administrators the ability to better secure data.

The new administrative controls include: requiring devices to use data encryption; auto-wiping devices after a specified number of failed password attempts; disabling the phone's camera; ensuring old passwords are not reused; requiring passwords to be changed after specified time intervals; and disabling data synchronization when devices roam to reduce wireless overage charges.

Google said the new mobile policies are available this week to Google Apps Premier and Education customers.

"It's our mission to provide users with seamless access to their data while allowing enterprise administrators to centrally manage a diverse range of mobile devices," wrote Google software engineer Dale Woodford in a blog post. "We're working to enhance our device management options and to expand our list of supported devices – including Android later this year."

The additional controls come just months after Google unveiled mobile device control options within Google Apps that let administrators remotely wipe all data from lost or stolen mobile devices; lock idle devices after a period of inactivity; require a device password on each phone; set minimum lengths for more secure passwords; and require passwords to include letters, numbers and punctuation.

The previous launch, coupled with this week's updates, give Google Apps mobile functionality in the cloud. Before adding more mobile controls into Google Apps Google had already launched Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry users and versions of Gmail and Google Calendar and updated Google Docs for Android phones.

Google also offers Google Sync for the iPhone, Nokia E-Series and Windows Mobile, which lets users of Google Apps sync mail, calendar and contacts from their mobile devices to the Google cloud.

The new management functions will let administrators manage the devices directly from the Google Apps administrative control panel without the need for additional software or the need to manage dedicated enterprise mobile servers, Google said.

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