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What are the costs and benefits of Good Mobile Access for Android?

Expert Michael Cobb details the costs and benefits of Android GMA, which raises the bar for mobile browser security.

Could you discuss the security features of the GMA Web browser for Android? What specifically does the browser

do that makes it safe in an enterprise environment, and will other mobile Web browsers look to it as a security benchmark?

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SearchSecurity.com expert Michael Cobb is standing by to answer your questions about enterprise application security and platform security. Submit your question via email at editor@searchsecurity.com.

Good Technology Inc. recently added the Good Mobile Access (GMA) Web browser for Android to its Good for Enterprise mobile device security and management suite. The Android GMA Web browser enables secure mobile browser access to applications and databases that are located behind a firewall, averting employees' virtual private network (VPN) frustrations. Employees often struggle with switching to a VPN connection when accessing enterprise network resources from their mobile devices, but GMA makes mobile access to the corporate network a more seamless experience for users.

When a user clicks on a link to resources residing on the corporate Intranet, the GMA browser initiates a secure connection so that all data passing between the browser and the corporate Intranet is encrypted and remains within the confines of the GMA sandbox. Another advantage is that users can only access the corporate Intranet via the GMA browser; any malicious apps that have managed to install themselves on the mobile device are blocked from accessing the Intranet.

Even if a particular Android device doesn't support encryption, GMA uses AES-encryption to protect the browser's cache, cookies, bookmarks and history. Administrators deploying GMA can also control whether content and documents can be copied to or opened in other applications. This provides an additional layer of defense against malware while also helping control the use and possible loss of corporate data.

With its easy Intranet access for mobile device users and its built-in encryption, the GMA Web browser can solve many of the problems associated with bring your own device in the enterprise. However, the requisite Good for Enterprise back-end mobile device and data management infrastructure comes at a relatively high purchase price.

Good Technology already provides a version of GMA for Apple's iOS, and the company has announced an upcoming version for use on Nokia phones. Whether GMA will drive other browser providers to introduce similar features will depend on whether it starts to lose enterprise market share without them.

This was first published in August 2012

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