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  1. #1
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    Android or iOS from an IT perspective?

    First of all, not sure if this is the best place for this thread as I want to cover Android and iOS, but also Security too. If it's in the wrong place please move it to a more appropriate forum. Thanks!

    So, my iPhone is due an upgrade very soon. I also have an iPad and use both extensively in my business, to the extent that they make me much more efficient when I'm mobile. I use password managers, remote desktop tools, server managers, network inspection tools, office suites, GPS navigation (Angry Birds might even creep in there too!). Looking around, I can save a packet on subscription charges by moving to a decent Android phone (though I would still keep the iPad).

    So the questions are more or less:

    Does anyone have experience of using Android in a mobile IT support business? I know I can get the likes of Teamviewer and Logmein, RDP and VNC clients etc on Android, but what about server managers and password managers? Can I port data from iAccounts to Keepass for example and can I maintain both across the two platforms, or would I need to migrate to Keepass on the iPad too. If I do that, what about on the workstation? What are peoples thought son password managers on Android.....secure.... usable....connectivity to other devices?

    What about security of Android? Can I remotely track a lost device and wipe it if necessary? Malware on Android seems to be a worrying trend: I'm unlikely to download any obviously dodgy apps, but we can all be fooled now and then, so do I need to worry about finding and using an Anti-Malware app on a Android phone?

    I assume Android devices be connected to MS Exchange, but it would be a problem if I had to fiddle with settings each time I wanted to use a different Exchange server.

    Is VPN access available using IPSec on Android? How about browsers like Net Portal or File Browser over VPN?

    Does anyone have any recommendations for good network inspection utilities on Android? Currently, I use Fing and iNet which work great.

    I know this is all rather general, but I want to get as wide a picture as possible.

    The bottom line is that I can stay on iOS and be content that all my apps will work together with the iPad and the workstation. If I do that, I will probably need to increase the subscription to move from the 3GS to the 4 or 4S, whereas I could potentially halve the monthly subscription costs by moving to a decent Android device and accept a small one-off cost to purchase a good set of IT support apps.

    Any thoughts?

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  3. #2
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    Not that I am trying to dissuade you from using these devices to help you do your job, because it sounds like they have a lot of value to you. But keep in mind that iPads, iPhones, and Android devices are consumer devices and as such inherently insecure out of the box. Both iOS and Android can be hacked pretty easily if you should lose your device. That being the case, make sure not to store any data, passwords, etc related to what you support.
    Chuck

  4. #3
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    Thanks Doc, the password manager I use on my portable devices stores data in an Blowfish encrypted store. The app is protected by a complex password, which if entered consecutively 5 times incorrectly erases the data store.

    Nonetheless it is a valid point. So, to further enhance security of the devices, I have ensured that I can remotely wipe both iPhone and/or iPad should I loose them.

    Automated erasure of the password store upon attack and remote wipe of the device are two of the critical features I would require if I were to migrate from iOS to Android.

    Can anyone confirm if remote wipe is a feature on Android or is made available from a business-class app installed on that platform?

  5. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    There are many security/locater/whatever apps on the Android Market. In reading the reviews of a few, some appear to have most if not all the features you might need. You can check the Android Market (can't download, but can check out) on your PC. Just go to the Android market and search remote erase of lost phone.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-01-31 at 12:21.
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  6. #5
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    Thanks Ted, I just found the PC Monitor app which I use quite a lot for remote monitoring of systems health, so that puts one piece of the jigsaw in place.

    Looking in the Android Market there are a number of apps that say they support remote wiping, some of which also are "Antivirus" apps - though I don't know if Android requires AV just yet (another question!). On first pass it's difficult to decode the marketing fluff to see much differentiation between them.

    What surprised me a little was the number of installs seemed quite low. Around 500k devices doesn't seem much, so either I'm missing a big player or people don't seem to think that is important.

    Do you use a password manager on Android, or leave it to memory? What about remote wipe, do you use that?

    I have to say that it would be easy to stay on iOS, but I think I can save around £250 ($380) a year by porting to an Android mobile compared to upgrading to a iPhone 4S. If I went down the Android route, I would also have the benefit(?!) of learning a new mobile OS.

    Still undecided......

  7. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I would definitely have an AV app. I do. It's cheap insurance, and there are many excellent free apps.

    I do not do enough from my Android phone (Sprint Samsung Galaxy S II) to bother with a password manager yet. I may check on some in the near future but do not yet. I also have not installed a remote wipe app yet. I've only had the phone for a couple of months so far.
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-01-31 at 17:59.
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  8. #7
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    I have KeePass installed both on my PCs and on my Android (Samsung Galaxy Ace). I synchronize the database using DropBox, so have access to the latest settings on all. There has been some concern over DropBox privacy, but since the KeePass database is encrypted with a strong password, this should not be a problems.

    There has been much discussion over the value and effectiveness of the various antivirus offerings for Android. I use Lookout, which seemed to get a good writeup.

    Chris

  9. #8
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have installed LastPass on my Android. Unfortunately it's a trial. I can purchase the paid version for $12/year. I like LastPass enough I may do that. I'll have to think on it.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  10. #9
    New Lounger Snoopy50's Avatar
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    Check out Avast Anti-Theft on Android market. It is part of AVast AV for Android but can be run Seperatly without installing Avast AV.
    It hides in background (cannot be seen or searched or deleted by theif) Is accessed by dialing your set password via phones dialer.
    Attributes include tracking, remote wiping, alarm sounding, alarm to find, phone lock on SIM change.

    Control anti-theft features with remote SMS commands for: history wipe, phone lock, siren activation, GPS tracking, audio monitoring, and many other useful tools. Your ‘invisible’ app hides itself, making it extremely hard for thieves to find and disable. A standalone yet tightly integrated component of avast! Mobile Security, avast! Anti-Theft is the slyest component on the market.

    Can even activate via TXT if you forget to put in Stealth mode. Will auto initiate Network connection or GPRS,3G to send data.

    Very small footprint and unobtrusive.
    Last edited by Snoopy50; 2012-02-01 at 22:33.

  11. #10
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    Excellent comments guys. Keep then coming!

    I'm starting to lean more to Android, but no matter how much I dislike the walled garden that is the App Store it does have a big benefit in significantly reducing the prevalence of malicious apps on that platform. The Android Market appears on face value to be safe enough, but from my research so far, I believe it is still not regulated nor enforces a formal approval process.

    Any suggestions on vetting potential apps, other than staying with the same brands and developers that I currently use on iOS?

  12. #11
    New Lounger Snoopy50's Avatar
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    Self Vetting

    Most of the Apps on the Android Market are vetted by the Users and any that do not cut it are soon recognized and taken of the market. As Apps are free or very cheap to purchase, they are tried by hundreds of users and if any do contain Malicious intent, they are detected very smartley.

    I have tried, used and tested hundreds of Apps and have yet to find one with Malicious content. I have heard of malware exsisting in an Android app but also note that the Android OS is very robust and self protected from Malware or Viruses, provided you do not root your device. Google does vet Apps on the market and are constantly removing Apps they find inapropriate as well as ones reported from users.

    The advantage one has is Android apps are for everyone while APPLE decide if apps are suitable for their machine and OS. I find APPLE a little too controlling and retrictive but thats just me.

    When I try new Apps I use my PC to check them over and send them to my phone 8 to 10 at a time. I run Avast Antivirus on my phone as they download and install. Then I scan and try the Apps. Once I have run them and deleted the ones that I do not need or are no good I then Uninstall Avast to free resources.

    I also use Android Assistant which allows you to back up the installed APK files to SD card. I can then batch install and uninstall APS as I need them without having to download again from the Market. This keeps the phone clean of apps that use resources but keeps them at hand if I need one to use.

    There are now as many Antivirus apps on the Android market as there is for your PC as all the big AV makers jump onto the Android scene. This also applies for security apps and bitlockers as well as Password protection Apps.

    As of todate, the Jury is still out as to weather or not you need AV on your Android. Many will say you do not need it and many will say you do but there has been no proven virus in Android on unrooted phones that I know off.

    I personaly find that you will have more of a problem with the permissions Apps require or use than you will from a virus or malware so check out the Apps permissions carefully before installing.

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  14. #12
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    Android Permissions

    I personaly find that you will have more of a problem with the permissions Apps require or use than you will from a virus or malware so check out the Apps permissions carefully before installing.
    LBE Privacy Guard is free and allows you to control what permissions you give to apps regardless of what permissions they are installed with. Requires a rooted device. Far more worried about this than viruses on Android.

  15. #13
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    Most of the Apps on the Android Market are vetted by the Users....
    Thanks Snoopy, a really helpful insight.

  16. #14
    Star Lounger Erniek's Avatar
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    I use (paid version) LOOKOUT security software https://www.mylookout.com/ on my S2. Though this may change due to free programs being available to do the same.

    It has all you are looking for regarding locating\locking\wiping\AV\Backup etc. There are freeware programs available that do the same and some of them do a good job.

    I also use App Backup & Restore to safeguard my APPS.

    Juice defender to keep an eye on exactly what is running away with the battery. This allows you to set-up the phone poewr setting to suit yourself.

    SMS Backup to enable me to backup my text messages.

    NetCounter to track my Data\wireless usage etc

    There is also quite a good magazine (in UK) for newbies (just like myself) "Android For Beginners" and this gives a good idea of how to work with an Android device as well as recommending certain APPS. Cost £10.00 from Menzies and well worth the money
    ErnieK

  17. #15
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    Thanks Ernie, will look-up that Android mag.

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