Google is adding some basic mobile device management capabilities to Google Apps that will let IT managers remotely wipe data from lost iPhones. The remote wipe and other management features are available to users of Google Apps Premier and Education Edition and will work for iPhones, Nokia E series devices, and Windows Mobile smartphones. Google Apps won't be able to manage smartphones using Google's own Android OS, though Google says it will add such capabilities later on.
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Managers will also be able to lock idle devices after a period of inactivity and require and manage passwords on phones. Administrators can start using the features from the Google Apps administration control panel.
The capabilities could help companies that are trying to manage the growing number of people who bring their own phones to work, rather than use one that is sanctioned and issued by the IT department. The iPhone has helped grow that segment of mobile business users as workers seek to use their preferred phone, Kitty Weldon, an analyst with Current Analysis said. But those phones are sometimes not supported by enterprise-grade mobile phone management systems.
The phones that Google is supporting all have other options for remote wipe, if the phones are used with other email products. iPhone OS, Windows Mobile, and Nokia E Series smartphones that sync with Microsoft Exchange server can be remotely wiped. The iPhone also has a remote wipe feature that users can initiate through their MobileMe accounts.