Google launches Android Enterprise Essentials, a new MDM for small businesses

Since 2018 Google has offered companies an option to better manage devices in the hands of their employees through the Android Enterprise Recommended programme.

Nearly 3 years later, the company’s spotlight is on small businesses which it is targeting with what it is calling Android Enterprise Essentials, “…a secure mobile management service built by the Android team to make it easy to protect your business devices and data.”

Why small businesses? Well, here is Google’s pitch:

“Smaller organizations… are increasingly the target of malicious attackers and may be required by local laws to protect company data. And with more business and customer data residing on mobile devices, one lost or stolen phone can create a major incident that can have a large and lasting impact on your business.”

Google believes that with its new Android Enterprise Essentials programme, it is able to provide small businesses with just the right tools they need to stay in business, demystifying the notion that “… a large, complex investment, perhaps beyond their budget or expertise” is needed.

Google is banking on its experience running the Android Enterprise Recommended programme, which just recently signed the Android platform’s biggest brand, Samsung, and tools that it has been using over the last few years to keep the platform safe like Google Play Protect, to guarantee small business owners and their employees of round-the-clock security as they go about their business.

Requiring a lock screen and encryption on devices to prevent unauthorised access to company data, enforcing mandatory malware protection by ensuring Google Play Protect is always on and employees can’t download apps outside of the Google Play Store and providing the ability to wipe all company data from a device in the event of a theft or other loss are the three core features of Android Enterprise Essentials.

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It’s not just small businesses alone that may find Android Enterprise Essentials useful, according to Google:

“Essentials is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses, but also works for larger organizations that want to extend core protections to devices which may not need advanced device management. Essentials can also serve as a starting point for customers who want to try out simple management at first, and potentially upgrade to more sophisticated management in the future.”

Unlike other MDM solutions, including Android Enterprise Recommended, the Android Enterprise Essentials programme’s key differentiator is the total lack of a need for specialized staff to manage things. In a small business setting, the owner is well-equipped to do just that instead of constantly counting on a fully-fledged IT department or desk to handle such affairs as is the norm.

Android Enterprise Essentials works on all Google Play-certified devices running on Android 9 Pie or newer versions. Select devices running Android 8 Oreo will also be compatible.

Android Enterprise Essentials devices will be offered at the point of sale, which is where those interested in signing on to the programme (at a small fee, of course) will be onboarded through various distributors around the world. For a start, only the US and the UK are in on the programme. A wider rollout is expected to start in the new year.

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