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Google launching basic Android device management

Google's Android Enterprise Essentials will let small businesses add necessary security to their Android devices without the complexity of more advanced management products.

Google plans to release next year an Android device management service for small and midsize businesses.

The Android Enterprise Essentials service, introduced this week, makes managing Android devices less complicated and costly for SMBs, Google said. The company did not release the price of the service but said it would be "affordable." Google plans to release the product in early 2021.

The service will let organizations remotely wipe lost or stolen devices, run Google's antimalware software and ensure that customer data is encrypted. It also requires employees to use a lock screen on devices, so they can't download apps outside the Google Play Store.

SMBs typically overlook device management, thinking the risk of an attack is low, and the cost of mobile security services too high. Instead, SMBs dedicate their resources to growing their companies.

"Device management, in itself, isn't going to be something that helps you win additional customers or grow revenue," Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said.

Many mobile device management products are complicated and offer more features than a small business needs, Hewitt said. However, doing nothing could place business or customer data at risk.

"The trend is to move away from that basically nothing style of management" and to take necessary security measures, like malware checks, Hewitt said.

Android Enterprise Essentials could serve as a starting point for small and midsize businesses, Google said. Customers could try out its simple controls and decide whether they need advanced tools later.

Android Enterprise Essentials
Google's Android Enterprise Essentials provides device management to small and midsize businesses.

While aimed at small businesses, large firms could use the product to secure devices that don't need complicated management policies, Google said.

Companies will purchase Android Enterprise Essentials through device resellers. When a company orders a new device, it will come with the security measures already in place. Google said the first distributors to offer the service will be Synnex in the U.S. and Tech Data in the U.K. Google plans to add resellers in 2021.

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