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What does Microsoft Intune for Android devices mean for UK Policing?

Towards the end of last year, the National Enabling Programmes (NEP) received the positive news that the National Police Information Risk Management Team (NPIRMT) had assured our Blueprint designs which allowed Android devices to be managed by Microsoft Intune. With Android devices making up the majority of Policing devices in the UK, this assurance was a significant step towards delivering the Policing Vision 2025. But what does this mean for Forces in England and Wales?

Introducing a new security baseline for Android devices

There are a number of reasons to be excited about this step forward, perhaps the most significant being around security. As noted previously, the vast majority of mobile end user devices across the whole of UK policing are Android devices. As a result, there are a considerable number of these mobile devices in service which are currently using unsupported Android operating systems. Significantly, Intune for Android provides a minimum viable operating system and security baseline which doesn’t currently exist across policing.

What this means is those Forces who implement Volume 5:Mobility of the NEP designs with Intune for Android, those mobile IT estates immediately have a new security baseline. This is a huge step change in the mobile security landscape, with the NEP providing an assured security baseline solution which will provide national Policing with a baseline standard that suppliers can develop applications specifically for Policing.

Allowing Forces to work effectively out in the field

With Intune for Android, Forces are extending their footprint to the mobile end point by giving officers the connectivity to the entire Office 365 stack as well as being able to manage third party applications to a standard. Extending this capability into the tactical space is a very significant step towards transforming the way Forces are able to protect their communities.

The Blueprint design for Intune for Android will provide end users with a Biometric connection to access the device and applications. This functionality will provide end users with an improved end user experience and applications that are integrated to both local and national systems.  

By implementing Intune for Android, Forces are enabling officers on the ground access to the same productivity services they would be able to exploit on their desktop devices within the Police estate, which will ultimately introduce increased flexibly and agility to operational policing.

These devices when managed by Intune form a significant part of a Force’s Microsoft ecosystem. From a benefits perspective then, Forces will be leveraging all of their licensing capability down to the mobile end point, which would otherwise not be possible via the likes of Airwatch or Pronto from a mobile device management perspective. Intune for Android provides Forces with the opportunity to leverage maximum benefit realisation from the licence investment of Office 365, providing significant cost efficiency opportunity.

Officer in Cumbria using Android mobile device connected to Samsung Dex

Developing a community of trust

The other considerable piece to this adoption of Intune for Android devices is around continuing to develop a community of trust across the 43 Forces in England and Wales. By providing Android estates an assured and consistent operating system, there is huge scope for regions to work and collaborate with confidence on the same applications, whilst working off a consistent and secure architectural footprint. Improving our ability to collaborate more efficiently on a trusted platform with other departments, Forces or agencies, puts officers in a position to become more visible within their communities, and improve levels of victim care.

Worth acknowledging has been the approach taken by the NEP, our Security Risk Management team and NPIRMT to achieve a position of assurance. The programme has been working closely with NPIRMT from the beginning of this design window, which has supported an efficient route to full assurance.

The NEP has also relied heavily on the support provided by Cumbria Constabulary for the testing of the of the design configuration and the continuous engagement with engineering teams from both Microsoft and Google to ensure that the Intune application met the requirements of national Policing.

We appreciate the commitment and support provided to NEP from all parties involved in the development of Intune and the process of developing the Blueprint design to a risk position which is assured nationally.

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