By Sue Poremba
Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.
Mobile devices and the cloud seem like a natural combination. After all, the beauty of cloud computing is the ability to access information from any computer. And the beauty of mobile devices is that all of your computing can be done from the smartphone you tuck in your pocket or the tablet carried in your purse.
Android devices are extremely popular for accessing the Internet and leveraging apps and platforms that access the Internet. According to Jonathan Dale, director of marketing for MaaS360, the convenience factor alone wins users, whether for Internet browsing, playing music, gaming, or accessing files and documents.
Accessing the cloud via Android is different from a traditional Windows PC, said Dale, but adds much of the same value. “For the most part, users are leveraging an application that provides easy access to cloud based final storage, like Dropbox or box.net. These applications also keep files synced between devices, which often include a user’s laptop,” he said.
On the enterprise front, companies are starting to invest in Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology that can provide a secure way of distributing content and accessing content from the cloud. “MDM solutions can allow the person distributing content to set sharing permissions that help restrict where files can go once accessed or downloaded to a device,” explained Dale. “If a device goes lost, stolen, or an employee leaves the company, an IT admin can remotely wipe the documents from the device.”
One of the few downfalls to using mobile devices is that sometimes you find yourself in an area where access to 3G or 4G is spotty and wireless connections are non-existent, but work can’t always come to a halt just because you can’t access your files. That’s where the marriage between the cloud and Android comes in handy.
“With an Android device, you can leverage off-line storage and cached files easily, so when the device does not have a data connection, you can still view and edit your files,” said Dale. “This is a common and necessary feature of almost all major cloud-file applications. This is especially important for business users.”
Once you have the Android device synched with the cloud, the sky’s the limit in your computing capabilities. You can back-up your devices, share photos, stream music, download sales presentations, and even edit and upload them, too. “It’s easy to access the same things on your Android devices as you can your laptop, and also enable a company’s IT staff to access critical systems, check on status alerts and perform troubleshooting steps,” Dale said.
As great a combination the cloud and mobile devices are, the ability to access and upload corporate data from any mobile device is a major concern – and a major headache for IT staff. “It’s important for companies to have policies and procedures in place to manage those devices along with the company’s critical information that will be accessed through them,” Dale pointed out. “This challenge is compounded by the BYOD trend, which continues to grow. But with the right tools and strategy, companies can turn this challenge into an opportunity.”
Cloud computing and mobile devices are both technologies with a high upside — financially and for your customers — that’s only improving. It only makes sense that Android and the cloud go hand-in-hand.