V3 Enterprise Mobility Summit: The bring your own device (BYOD) movement and firms' need to drive down costs means the corporate use of Google's Android operating system will continue to grow despite security risk, according to Ernst & Young.
Mark Brown, executive director in cyber security and business resilience at EY, told V3 that the business benefits of Android will inevitably lead to increased use in the enterprise.
"Android's [open nature] has long been called out as an advantage by mobile users and a weakness by businesses," he said.
"In security terms, the ability for any user to access the operating system and change security settings presents unacceptable risks to many businesses.
"Nevertheless the commercial cost benefits and prevalence of Android devices in the marketplace is resulting in businesses developing programmes which are agnostic in their use of mobile technologies."
Brown highlighted BYOD and flexibility as key areas that will help Android's advance into the enterprise.
"Android can play a role in enabling mobile technology in business as its lower cost of entry and global prevalence make it an attractive option for businesses to leverage rather than traditional BYOD solutions focused on iOS or Windows," he said.
"Additionally the ready availability and continued mass development of new mobile apps can assist businesses to connect directly to their consumer base as never before and provide a gateway to a digital business realising significant new business opportunities."
He added that companies will need to take proactive measures to manage and control Android devices being used for work purposes in order to avoid security disasters or data loss.
"If a business has not put in place effective technical controls then unwittingly a user may leak sensitive corporate data through no fault of their own," he said.
"Awareness of the risks and education of users is key to successful use of Android in the enterprise rather than technical solutions alone.
"Businesses should [also] remain aware that the open nature of the OS has meant that malware writers are targeting Android as the system of choice in which to inject malicious code."
Brown's comments follow ongoing concerns about Android's suitability for business use.
A V3 survey, carried out in association with MaaS360 by Fiberlink, found that 52 percent of businesses currently support Android devices for use at work.
However, only 20 percent of IT professionals believe that Android is the most suitable operating system for use in the enterprise, highlighting the chasm between adoption and faith in the Google platform.
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