Everything You Need To Know About Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)

Before we talk about Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM), let us talk about what is Enterprise Mobility. In simple terms, enterprise mobility is a term used to describe a shift in work habits where more employees are working out of office and are using mobile devices and cloud services to manage their business tasks. While enterprise mobility can improve productivity and saves time, it comes with its own set of issues. And the biggest threat that arises due to enterprise mobility is the security risk to corporate data. Here is when the role of EMM comes into the picture.

What is Enterprise Mobile Management?

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is a set of services and technologies designed to secure corporate data on employees’ mobile devices. It is an approach to secure as well to enable the use of smartphones and tablets over wireless networks by business workers.

While it can manifest itself in various ways, it generally consists of a suite of mobile management systems and services that protect intellectual property; specific processes that ensure the security of data; and systems that must integrate with a wide range of enterprise IT systems to meet a range of corporate concerns.

In general, what type of EMM system works best for any one company depends on the specifics of that company’s mobile needs; what works for one enterprise might be inadequate for others. Some may want to lock down employee devices completely, allowing them to be wiped if the device goes missing. Others may focus on securing specific apps.

Still others may concentrate on data alone. And many companies now see EMM tools and services as a way of enabling their workers to do more while being mobile.

Evolution of Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM)

EMM solutions emerged as a result of the bring-your-own-device movement. Rather than restricting mobile devices in the workplace, many organizations choose to implement EMM solutions to allow device flexibility for users while retaining control for IT. 

The Major components of EMM technology

Although EMM encapsulates a broad range of solutions, most vendors offer just a fraction of the services required by enterprises, according to Gartner. “Enterprise mobility management is transitioning to unified endpoint management, as administrators use EMM to support a broad range of device platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows 10, macOS and EMM-manageable IoT devices,” the research firm wrote in a recent report.

Not surprisingly, EMM and its various offshoots are in a state of flux, which makes sorting out the various services it offers confusing. Based on information from major analyst firms such as Forrester Research, Gartner and 451 the definitions below should help IT organizations find the best tools for their needs.

1. Mobile device management (MDM)

MDM is an underlying technology that remotely manages the lifecycle of mobile devices and their respective platforms. MDM usually involves the installation of unique profiles on mobile devices. These profiles give organizations the ability to remotely control, encrypt and enforce policies on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. They can, for instance, be used to wipe a device of all apps and data if it is lost or stolen.

MDM also provides companies with real-time insights on device inventory, provisioning, and OS configuration, and can provide tools for troubleshooting. The MDM market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 18% through 2021, according to 451 Research.

2. Mobile application management (MAM)

MAM tools allow organizations to manage mobile applications instead of hardware. MAM covers the deployment and updating of mobile apps, including administrative push support and app license management. Mobile application management also enables organizations to apply security policies to these apps and selectively remove them (including any associated data) from a specific device.

Thus, corporate information can be protected without having to wipe a device entirely. This kind of approach has gained popularity as more workers bring in their own devices to the workplace.

MAM and the platforms used to distribute it represent the largest sectors of the overall EMM market.

MAM and mobile application platforms (MAP) combined for $2.94 billion in global revenue in 2016; the combined sectors are expected to grow to nearly $10.2 billion in 2021, according to 451 Research. 

3. Mobile identity management (MIM)

MIM, or mobile identity management, systems take various forms in an EMM framework, including user and device certificates, app code signatures, authentication and single sign-on. The primary objective of MIM is to ensure that only trusted devices and users can access enterprise data or applications.

MIM can also help organizations track app and device metrics and provide department-level credentials for the approved use of enterprise apps. 

4. Mobile information management (MIM)

Mobile information management, or MIM, pertains to remotely accessible databases. MIM is mostly integrated into MDM or MAM services because device- and app-management services rely on cloud-based tools that store and sync files across multiple devices.

There are many popular public services for this from the likes of Box, Dropbox, Microsoft and Google in addition to corporate-controlled versions of MIM that are managed on-site.

5. Mobile content management (MCM)

MCM is another flavor of EMM that enables professionals to access content on mobile devices. MCM has, according to Gartner, four fundamental roles: content security, content access, content push and file-level protection.

MCM can also enforce authentication policies and many modern MCM platforms can integrate directly with enterprise services from Microsoft, Box, Google and others to authorize access to files and other data on a per-person basis.

6. Mobile expense management (MEM)

Mobile expense management is designed to help organizations control costs and keep tabs on mobile communications expenses. MEM services provide enterprises with insights into device and service usage, procurement of devices and other policies like BYOD stipends.

MEM can also enforce corporate policies and provide IT administrators, with a robust audit of mobile usage.

Why is enterprise mobility management (EMM) important?

EMM is essential for organizations that have adopted enterprise mobility to improve employee productivity. Additionally, EMM also allows organizations to:

1. Enhance corporate data security:

Using enterprise mobility management software, organizations can enforce stringent security policies on enterprise mobile devices accessing sensitive business data to ensure corporate data security.

2. Secure deployment of corporate data:

Organizations can distribute essential content to the required devices while restricting access from unauthorised devices and users.

3. Simplify user and device management:

Organizations can automate device onboarding and ensure the required corporate resources and security protocols are available as soon as devices are assigned to the users. EMM solutions also simplify the deprovisioning of devices when an employee leaves the organization and the device is handed over to a different employee.

How does EMM work?

Enterprise mobility offers the benefit of improved productivity by allowing employees to work on the go. But, these mobile devices, if not managed, also pose a threat to organizational security. Their portability increases the chances of device theft, and hence result in data loss or unauthorised data access. Another major cause of concerns for IT admins, is the installation of malicious apps that could result in a malware attack on the entire corporate network.

An EMM software/solution enables you to keep security threats at bay, without affecting productivity by managing the devices, apps, content and access. With the help of EMM solutions organizations can Blocklist malicious apps on devices, enforce security policies on devices, enable encryption on devices, prevent unauthorised access and sharing of corporate data across all the devices in the organization, and remotely wipe corporate content from lost/stolen devices.

This ensures employees can securely access corporate data without having to worry about data loss or theft.

What are the industry use cases for EMM Solutions?

EMM software has gained momentum and popularity across various sectors. Deploying the right EMM solution/tool in an organization can help it address the rapidly evolving industry standards. Here's how EMM solutions are used across various industries:

1. Healthcare:

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations must ensure they comply with various industry compliance standards such as HIPAA, that help secure patients personally-identifiable information (PII) on mobile devices. With an EMM solution, organizations can meet these compliance standards while accessing and storing the patient records on mobile devices.

2. Transportation:

Transportation and logistics organizations have greatly benefited from the introduction of enterprise mobility. EMM solutions can allow admins to remotely track the device location in real-time while also maintaining a history of the locations traversed by their employees.

3. Education:

As schools and universities adopt tablet-based learning to enhance the teaching experience, it's essential to ensure these devices are not misused. With an EMM software, educational institutions can lock down devices to specific apps, distribute required study material, restrict access to inappropriate websites and prevent access to certain device functionalities such as Camera.

4. Retail:

With retail stores using mobile devices as digital signage and self-service devices, it's essential to ensure these devices do not leave the premises. EMM tools have the capabilities to ensure the devices cannot leave a specific geographical location.

Enterprise Mobile Management ( EMM ) Security Best Practices

Security is the most straightforward element with a formal set of evaluating criteria. Security sits at the top of the IT department’s priorities, and it often serves as an IT team’s primary focus. It’s important to note that security encompasses more than setting passwords and managing data access.

1. Use Encryption

Any data stored locally on the device must be encrypted, so its content is indecipherable without the corresponding cryptographic key (usually generated by an employee entering a password). Encryption keeps would-be data thieves from snatching devices, cloning their storage, and perusing through their content.

2. Maintain a Wipe Policy for Local Data

Company-mandated device wipes are controversial. No one wants their boss to hold power to wipe their device remotely. With proper data management on-device, it is possible to implement partial wipes without affecting the user’s data. The company can justify wiping company-only data remotely, particularly if it can guarantee personal data privacy and safety.

3. Use Context-Based Authentication

Context-based authentication is the first line of defense against unwanted intruders. An example is verifying a device attempting to connect from a new location, such as a previously unused IP address, with two-factor authentication (2FA). The company intranet may also restrict external mobile access by IMEI, a wireless device’s unique identifier, or restrict in-office WiFi access by MAC address. Both can be registered beforehand.

4. Patch Vulnerabilities for All Devices at All Times

Customers have more mobile consumer technology choices now than ever. From Apple to Samsung, Huawei to Sony, there are multiple devices to buy and hack. Luckily iOS and Android operating systems are the most popular in the United States and Europe, but even then, there is a constant flow of new vulnerabilities to patch.

5. Balance Corporate and Employee Needs

While security is paramount and is the main driver behind much of corporate technology and the associated IT policies, user experience (UX) is also essential. Arcane security policies and procedures may seem difficult to end-users, and too much resistance to previously-enjoyed workflows can quickly mutate into employees cutting corners on security practices.

Examples of EMM products

With the increase in number of organizations that are adopting enterprise mobility management, people have started to transform EMM approach into EMM products. These products help in dealing with all the enterprise mobility issues of a company and let all business workers use their mobile devices for work related tasks in a safe and secure manner.

The EMM products are often created using MAM or MIM features that are then added to the MDM products. Also, any enterprise app store or any other application delivery and deployment technology used is also a component of am EMM product.

Conclusion

The goal of EMM isn’t just to make it possible for end-users to work on mobile devices — it’s to help them become as productive as possible when they do. While consumer apps are easy to use and convenient, they don’t offer the level of functionality people need to perform routine business tasks, let alone the level of security the business needs.

EMM solutions offer built-for-business mobile productivity apps — like email, calendar, a secure web browser, document editing, and remote access to enterprise resources like apps, desktops, and files — that enable mobile employees to be just as productive and secure as they are in the office.

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Published on Jun 10, 2020
Harshit Agarwal
Written by Harshit Agarwal
Harshit Agarwal is co-founder and CEO of Appknox, a mobile security suite that helps Enterprises and Financial institutions to automate mobile security. Over the last 6 years, Harshit has worked with over 300+ businesses ranging from top financial institutions to Fortune 500 companies to set up security practices helping organisations secure their mobile applications and speed up the time for security testing.

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