Google has introduced remote device locking capability to Android Device Manager, making the use of Android devices in corporate environment that much safer. The new capability is simply turned on from the management interface, where clicking on the "Lock" button will make a lost device instantly secured.
Locking will override the built-in phone security, whether it's relying on a pattern, PIN or other method. You'll be asked to choose a new password when submitting the lock request, and that will be the code you'll use to unlock the device when it's hopefully found.
Presuming the lost device is in the Airplane mode, the lock request will kick in as soon as the device is back online.
This is the first step in making Android more secure, but its open nature still makes it more vulnerable than some other platforms. To that end, companies are turning to other solutions that securely virtualize the space on the phone and dedicate it to the working environment. Perhaps the most striking example of this practice is Samsung Knox, which even got the clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense.