5 min read
Apr 17, 2015

EMM? Never heard of it!

Does your company use mobile phones? If the answer is yes, then you should look into something called Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

Matt Mullarkey-TonerContent Analyst

Does your company use mobile phones? If the answer is yes, then you should look into something called Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

EMM provides control over your company’s mobile devices. It’s risen to prominence with the inescapable and buzzwordy BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), where employees are now using their phones for their work and their personal life. BYOD makes a ton of sense for a company: there’s no need to purchase new hardware, you can save money on training costs because people are familiar with the OS, and it reduces the amount of tech an employee has to carry around. Enter EMM.

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Why it's important

Roula Vrsic, Vice President of Global Marketing for EMM solutions provider SOTI, said that as companies put more of an emphasis on transitioning business to mobile, they’ll be confronted with more challenges.

“IT is looking for advanced tools to help diagnose and fix device configuration issues in real-time, protect against and remediate malware, and provide advanced data loss protection capabilities as business workflows continue to migrate to mobile. Couple these demands with the need for workforce enablement and business transformation across the organization, and the need for enterprise mobility management becomes a paramount requirement,” Vrsic said.

As it’s a relatively new area, EMM solutions are usually comprised of a few different mobile solutions. They can include a mix of:

Mobile Application Management (MAM) - This is an area focused on managing the applications that employees use. This is an especially important area as app stores (especially on Android) host applications that could endanger the security of your phone. MAMs provide an oversight of these applications, who is using them, and the ability to approve or deny access to the apps. Although the number of enterprise apps is quite small at the moment, Android for Work and Good Technology are adding enterprise versions of popular consumer apps.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) - Mobile Device Management is similar to MAM, except that it focuses less on the applications and more on the hardware itself. Essentially, IT departments would have control over a device. This makes it easier to control access to corporate data, add and remove users from your network, and have more control if you come under attack. However, with the advent of BYOD, employees are (understandably) hesitant to give an IT department total access to their device.

For more reading on the specifics of MAM and MDM, Brian Madden has a great (albeit a little dated) post explaining them in more detail.

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Integration helps

Luckily, like other areas of the SaaS industry, integration seems to be the name of the game, and lots of companies are working together to make sure that their products function in harmony. This is better for you as a buyer because it means you’ll face less headaches when handling integrations between different apps. These partnerships are so connected that they feel like a SaaSy version of the Kevin Bacon game: SAP partnered with Samsung; Samsung (more specifically: their KNOX security) integrated some of their tech into two BlackBerry Enterprise Solutions; and Blackberry has partnered with Google to collaborate on some tech for Android for Work.

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It's not the tech, it's the people that use it

Despite all the perks, an EMM solution isn’t the total solution to managing your mobile network. “A common drawback of EMM is the belief that the technical solution itself will solve an organization’s enterprise mobility management requirements. Managing mobility is not only about implementing an EMM, but developing policies and procedures to govern the acceptable business use of new mobile technologies within the organization,” Vrsic said.

“A comprehensive policy framework must be established, or existing IT service management policies amended, to accommodate mobility before putting the tools in place to govern the behavior,” she said.

EMM doesn’t just apply to iPhones or iPads, and in the future is likely to apply to all sorts of devices that are connected to a company network.

“EMM is frequently thought of as a tool for managing smartphones and tablets, but as mobile endpoints expand to include smart peripherals, wearables, and connected smart devices, organizations are increasingly looking for a holistic solution to unify management policies across a diverse device landscape.”

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