Android Enterprise is a Google-led initiative to enable the use of Android devices and apps in the workplace. The program offers APIs and other tools for developers to integrate support for Android into their enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions. This site provides developers with an overview of the program and the background information required to start building an Android Enterprise solution.
Android devices: enterprise use cases
This section describes the most common enterprise deployment scenarios for Android devices. You can use Android Enterprise's tools and services to support any or all of these use cases in your EMM solution.
Employee-owned devices (BYOD)
BYOD devices can be set up with a work profile—a feature built into Android 5.1+ that allows work apps and data to be stored in a separate, self-contained space within a device. An employee can continue to use their device as normal; all their personal apps and data remain on the device's primary profile.
The employee's organization has full management control over a device's work profile, but has no visibility or access to a device's personal profile. This distinct separation gives enterprises control over corporate data and security without compromising employee privacy.
Company-owned devices for knowledge workers
Organizations can exercise full management control over the Android 5.0+ devices they own and issue to employees. There are two deployment options available for these types of company-owned devices: fully managed (Android 5.0+) and fully managed with a work profile (Android 8.0+).
Fully managed deployments are for company-owned devices that are used exclusively for work purposes. Organizations can enforce the full range of management policies on the entire device, including device-level policies that are unavailable to work profiles.
Fully managed devices with work profiles are for company-owned devices that are used for both work and personal purposes. The organization still manages the entire device. However, the separation of work data and apps into a work profile allows organizations to enforce two separate sets of policies. For example:
- A stronger set of policies for the work profile that applies to all work apps and data.
- A more lightweight set of policies for the personal profile that applies to the user's personal apps and data.
Company-owned devices for dedicated use
Dedicated devices (formerly called corporate-owned single-use, or COSU) are a subset of company-owned devices that serve a specific purpose. Android comes with a broad set of management features that allow organizations to configure devices for everything from employee-facing factory and industrial environments, to customer-facing signage and kiosk purposes.
Dedicated devices are typically locked to a single app or set of apps. Android 6.0+ offers granular control over a device's lock screen, status bar, keyboard, and other key features, to prevent users from enabling other apps or performing other actions on dedicated devices.
Integrate Android into your EMM solution
An Android Enterprise solution is a combination of three components: your EMM console, Android Device Policy, and managed Google Play.
EMM solutions typically take the form of an EMM console—a web application you develop that allows IT admins to manage their organization, devices, and apps. To support these functions for Android, you integrate your console with the APIs and UI components provided by Android Enterprise.
Android Device Policy
All Android devices that an organization manages through your EMM console must install Android Device Policy during setup. Android Device Policy is an app supplied by Android that automatically applies the management policies set in your EMM console to devices.
Managed Google Play
Managed Google Play is an enterprise version Google Play that facilitates certain app management capabilities for Android Enterprise solutions. It combines the familiar user experience and app store features of Google Play with a set of management capabilities designed specifically for enterprises.
Managed Google Play can be embedded into your EMM console to provide IT admins with features such as:
- Public app search
- Private app publishing
- Web app publishing
- App organization
On managed devices, managed Google Play is the user's enterprise app store. The interface is similar to Google Play—users can browse apps, view app details, and install them. Unlike the public version of Google Play, users can only install apps from managed Google Play that their organization approves for them.
Android EMM lifecycle features
This section provides an overview of the major features you can integrate into your EMM solution.
Onboard new customers
Android Enterprise provides APIs and an online setup flow for you to onboard new
customers. When an organization completes the onboarding process, you create an
Enterprise resource for it.
There are two types of enterprises: Managed Google Play Accounts enterprises and Google Accounts enterprises.
Managed Google Play Accounts enterprise
With this type of enterprise, you provision managed Google Play Accounts for devices and end users. Managed Google Play Accounts provide access to managed Google Play, allowing users to install and use work apps selected by IT admins. If your customer uses a 3rd-party identity service, you can link managed Google Play Accounts with your customer's existing identity accounts.
Because this type of enterprise is not tied to a customer's existing domain, you can create more than one Enterprise resource for a single organization. For example, each department or region within an organization could enroll as a different enterprise to manage separate sets of devices and apps.
Google Accounts enterprise
Customers that use Cloud Identity or G Suite already have an existing enterprise ID and existing Google Accounts for users. With this type of enterprise, you need to sync with your customer's LDAP directory and retrieve Google Account information from Google using the Google Directory API.
When setting up a device, each user must manually sign in with their existing Google Account. The account will give them access to managed Google Play in addition to the other Google services already provided by their organization's Cloud Identity or G Suite plan.
Because this type of enterprise is tied to a customer's existing domain, each domain can only be linked with one EMM console.
Provision devices and work profiles
Provisioning is the process of setting up an Android device for management. It typically involves transferring setup details (for example, corporate WiFi credentials) to the device and installing Android Device Policy. For a full list of provisioning methods, see the Feature list.
After a device or work profile is provisioned, it's ready to be managed. Through the Android Management API, Android supports over 80 device and app management policies. Android Device Policy, the management app installed during provisioning, applies policies set in the API to devices:
- When a device or work profile is provisioned, Android Management API assigns it a unique device ID.
- IT admins use an EMM console integrated with Android Management API to configure device and app management policies.
- IT admins assign these policies to specific devices or work profiles (i.e. specific device IDs).
- Android Management API sends the policies to the specified device IDs.
- On each device or work profile, Android Device Policy enforces the policies it receives from Android Management API.
Android Management API and Android Device Policy handle steps 4 and 5 automatically, meaning there's no development effort required to communicate policy settings to devices.
With the managed Google Play iframe, you can support app discovery, private app publishing, web app publishing, and app organization into your EMM console with minimal integration effort.
Android Management API handles app distribution through the policy-based approach described in the Manage devices. The API supports two primary methods of app distribution: adding an app to a device's managed Play store app or remotely push installing an app to a device.
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