Enabling Your Remote Workforce with Android Enterprise BYOD

May 19, 2020
Kenny Takahashi

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Kenny Takahashi is a product marketing manager for VMware End-User Computing (EUC), focusing on Android and Chrome platforms.

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Like many of you, I’ve been working from home for the past two months. For me, the transition was relatively easy because I had already been splitting work hours between the office and home. Unfortunately, the ability to support a distributed workforce can vary greatly from company to company and even from employee to employee. While many workers have the convenience of corporate issued laptops, others cannot easily recreate their workspace at home for a number of reasons:

• Fixed office equipment can’t be taken home (i.e. desktop computer)

• Limited space for multiple household members working remotely

• Device malfunctions with limited or no access to IT services from home

Fear not, there are still options available to overcome these obstacles!

Bring Your Own Digital Workspace

The concept of Bring Your Own Device or “BYOD” has been around for years, but until recently was primarily focused on supporting ancillary functions. Using personal mobile devices to access internal data and applications, such as email, was meant to maintain productivity while on the go. In the current pandemic environment, BYOD represents far greater potential as a remote work solution.

Today’s mobile devices and the operating systems on which they run, such as Android, are well equipped to support business critical applications. Some Android device manufacturers such as Samsung even support a desktop mode (Samsung DeX), allowing users to create a full desktop experience by pairing the mobile device with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Organizations, especially those having difficulty keeping employees connected, should consider leveraging personally owned mobile devices to create digital workspaces.

Recently, Brian Madden wrote a blog post about BYOD decisions that may be pending within your organization. For those who haven’t read it, he nicely lays out the considerations around whether BYOD makes sense for your employees and IT groups.

Android Enterprise

Google built the mobile management platform, Android Enterprise, to enable a variety of business-focused features spanning device, user and application management. IT admins can push security policies, manage applications, monitor certain activity and much more for both employee-owned and corporate-owned devices. All you need to get started are devices running Android (5.x or higher) and an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution, such as VMware Workspace ONE UEM.

Unleash the Power of Work Profile

For BYOD deployments, employee-owned Android devices can be configured with a work profile, which enables the device to support work functions without interfering with personal uses. Through the work profile, IT can provide access to business-critical apps and resources. IT has full control over the space where work apps and data are kept and can configure policies such as enforcing specific passcode requirements for work apps and restricting copy-pasting of corporate information to personal apps. At the same time, users maintain privacy and control over the full device as IT cannot view nor manage personal applications and data. The work profile keeps work apps separate from personal apps and even adds a small briefcase badge to each work app icon to visually distinguish them. When personal time is needed, employees can simply turn off the work profile to suppress work notifications.

Enrollment is Simple

Assuming a BYOD policy is in place within your organization, setting up a work profile on a personal Android device is easy. The user only needs to install the EMM agent app, (i.e. VMware Workspace ONE Intelligent Hub) and authenticate with corporate credentials. From there, the work profile will be configured and the work apps that IT has designated can be installed on the device. With Workspace ONE UEM, IT can ensure employees have access to the appropriate apps with user-based assignments.

Additional BYOD Resources

For more information on work profile and promoting BYOD adoption among your workforce, VMware and Google have created resources to help you along your journey.

• Work Profile User Tips: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2017/12/android-byod-how-i-use-the-work-profile.html

• Work Profile Use Tips (Part 2): https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2020/02/android-work-profile.html

• VMware’s Work Profile Adoption Kit: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2019/11/work-profile-adoption-kit.html

• Android Enterprise Employee Adoption Kit: https://blog.google/products/android-enterprise/employee-adoption-kit/

• VMware BYOD Adoption Kit: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2960367?lang=en_US&queryTerm=adoption+kit

Alternative Options: Work Managed and Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE)

The work profile is a fantastic solution for typical Android BYOD deployments, but some organizations may require more control over devices with corporate access. If companies in this situation are willing to purchase devices for their employees, Work Managed or Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) deployments are great options. Work managed devices allow full device control by IT, making it the most practical option for business-only devices. COPE is a combination of work managed and work profile, allowing IT to manage and secure the device, while also separating work and personal for the employee. Both options can safely enable remote workers and only require pocket-sized hardware.

Enrollment is Still Simple

Just like with work profile, enrollment of work managed and COPE devices is easy. There are multiple options for enrolling devices, even under today’s remote-first circumstances. Devices can be shipped to your employees ready to go out of the box. Employees only need to scan a QR code or enter an EMM identifier during device setup and let the EMM (i.e. Workspace ONE) take care of the rest. If you purchase and ship devices from an authorized carrier or reseller, the device can be automatically provisioned through Zero Touch or Knox Mobile Enrollment as soon as it connects to a network.

Resources for Work Managed and COPE

• Blog and video on work managed devices: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2018/07/work-managed-devices.html

• Blog and video on COPE: https://blogs.vmware.com/euc/2019/01/corporate-owned-personally-enabled.html

• Managing Android Devices Tutorial: https://techzone.vmware.com/managing-android-devices-vmware-workspace-one-operational-tutorial

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