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What is EMM? Enterprise Mobility Management explained

Matt Kapko | Oct. 10, 2017
The EMM market is evolving to provide ever more comprehensive (and specific) services for device and application management. Here’s a look at what it is and how it can meet the divergent needs of different companies.

smartphone with lock on it by Pexels
Credit: Pexels

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is a set of services and technologies designed to secure corporate data on employees’ mobile devices. 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, allow 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.

The definition of EMM is evolving,” said David Johnson, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “[EMM] used to be mainly about mobile device and application management, but now it’s more about enabling mobility more broadly – extending to Windows 10 and MacOS devices, identity and access management strategy, and how to design mobile engaging and productive mobile experiences for employees.”

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.

 

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.

 

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