Android invades the enterprise

How three companies are coping -- even thriving -- amid the Android explosion.

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Tackling Tough Questions

Most enterprises treat Android tentatively, at least at first. They'll start by allowing a limited number of devices and operating system versions and only allow access to email. That reduces the risk and gives IT a chance to work through thorny questions as they arise, says Bob Egan, CEO and founder of Sepharim Group, a mobile enterprise consultancy. "You have company email and personal email, so it starts the process of thinking about things like privacy and support," he says. "You have to start educating users, changing your IT support processes and building in policies."

Egan adds that this learning applies to more platforms than just Android. As IT gains experience, it will ultimately figure out how to protect enterprise applications and data regardless of which mobile platform is used. "Android is perhaps the poster child that is driving IT to wise up and decide that it should trust nothing," he says.

Most companies haven't allowed BYOD access to corporate applications yet, but Kane says he expects that to begin to change within the next six months. As more organizations decide to give employees access to enterprise systems via their personal devices, they will have to figure out how to handle application security. "That's something most companies haven't tackled yet," he says. "That, along with data security in general, will be the next challenge."

Computerworld asked three CIOs to explain where they stood with Android and their BYOD programs. Here's what they had to say.

Starz Entertainment: Managing Android's Diversity

Starz Entertainment, a premium cable content provider, had been supplying corporate-owned BlackBerries to qualified employees for years. Then employees started bringing in their own phones -- first iPhones and later various Android devices. They all wanted to connect to the network.

IT tried to accommodate the requests, but "the frequency of the releases and the quirks and differences between the Android devices drove us nuts," says Judy Batenburg, vice president of IT infrastructure and operations at Starz. "We had 20 to 30 different Android phones floating around the enterprise. Trying to keep up with it all just became impossible."

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