A deal leading from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley: Google is buying New York-based enterprise software company Divide for an undisclosed sum. Divide provides mobile device management technology—tools to keep business data separate and secure on smartphones and tablets. The company also provides productivity tools for people to work and collaborate on mobile devices.
The move is designed to drive more business for Google’s Android devices among companies concerned about security.
Increasingly, people use their mobile devices for work and personal life interchangeably. Many employees are expected to access work data when they're at home or on the road, and people want to be able to use the mobile device of their choice, one which also holds personal email, photos, games and the like.
“If you download a tic-tac-toe game off the Google playstore,” says Tyler Shields, a mobile-security expert at Forrester Research, and it’s loaded with malware, “once you run it on your phone, it could grab all your contacts or all your calendars.” Shields says that might include some of your employer’s contacts and calendars, or confidential information like blueprints or business plans that you’ve been working on.
Technology analyst Crawford Del Prete at research firm IDC says of the acquisition of Divide: “This move by Google is to say: ‘We are hardening the Android experience. We are going to give you more control as an enterprise, to have a secure container and a secure place for your corporate data.’”
Del Prete says Google is wise to make this move, because there’s a perception in the marketplace—among IT professionals, business managers, and consumers—that competing devices and apps from Apple are more secure and less easily hacked.