Google Partners With Security-Minded Smartphone Maker

Google is partnering with privacy-centric phone maker Silent Circle to cash in on the digital problem of the modern workplace: the BYOD age.

As it becomes more and more common for employees to work longer hours, it has almost become commonplace for companies to see work emails coming out of personal devices, and this presents a new challenge for companies to protect their data beyond the conventional work devices.

The partnership between the two companies aims at monetizing this fast-emerging problem with a new version of Silent Circle’s Blackphone. While the existing versions of which are capable of encrypting calls, text and data, the new version would come loaded with Google’s Android for Work software that compartmentalizes personal and professional use and lets corporate users access productivity apps like Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Gmail, among others, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Google’s Android for Work is a product which aims to capture the corporate IT market, which has long been dominated by Apple and BlackBerry. In retrospect, Android devices have often been looked upon as less secure than devices manufactured by Apple and BlackBerry, which hold the keys to both hardware and software security, Forrester Analyst Tyler Shields told WSJ.

But to many experts, security and Google don’t quite go together, which explains why the partnership may come across as an anomaly. Google is known for its massive data collection, and its Geneva-based partner Silent Circle is known for such tight data security that it doesn’t even keep its customers’ names on file.

“We debated this quite long and heavily inside the company before we decided to go down with this,” said Dan Ford, Silent Circle’s chief security officer, in an interview with WSJ.

Silent Circle’s decision to partner with Google came at the sake of getting a strong foothold in the U.S and capturing a new corporate market as the company doesn’t sell its Blackphone to private users and is opaque to any insights into its consumer data.

Google, on the other hand, seems to be fast finding an audience for its Android for Work product, with over 10,000 businesses, including the World Bank and U.S. Army, already using it.

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