On Device Data Encryption Should Be A Default

For the most part we think of Android as a consumer focused smartphone operating system, but that doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t have aspirations of having corporations using it. In order for Android to get adoption by corporations it needs to be secure and easily managed. Google provides the ability for those who use Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education to remotely manage and secure Android phones.

A Google Apps Device Policy app is available for Android phones that can be used to locate a lost or stolen device, ring the device, change the device passcode, and remotely wipe the device. Administrators also have the ability to require encrypted storage on Android 3.0 tablets.

When I was reading the information about these features that Google is now providing, the encryption capability caught my attention. I personally think that all mobile devices ought to automatically encrypt information on the device so that it is protected. Providing the ability to remotely wipe a device does give the ability to prevent information from being obtained, but there can be a delay before the devices are wiped, which provides an opportunity for the information to be obtained.

I use an app called B-Folders on my Android phones that stores information in an encrypted database using a 256-bit AES algorithm. Previously on other smartphones I used eWallet, which is available for Windows Mobile, iPhone, and Blackberry smartphones, and several other apps are available.

Several apps are available to encrypt files on Android phones, but I think file system encryption ought to be built-in to Android. The iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3rd generation or later iPod Touch, and all iPad models support hardware encryption, which is enabled by creating a device passcode. The iOS devices supporting hardware encryption can be configured so that if a wrong passcode is entered a defined amount of times the device is automatically wiped.