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Beyond MDM : a new area of focus?

June 30, 2017 | By admin

EMM is slowly replacing MDM Technology

Mobile Device Management (MDM) tools became a rage back when BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) came to the scene. It seemed an effective tool for tackling the security concerns posed by the influx of new devices. But now, with the burgeoning of mobile devices, it seems MDM alone is no longer sufficient to address all the concerns arising in an enterprise mobility program. So what now? The answer seems to be Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

What is Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)? How Does it Differ from MDM?

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is much more than Mobile Device Management (MDM). While MDM focus more on securing/managing various mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, recent advances in enterprise mobility are pointing “less at the actual devices being secured and more at the information in transit being secured”. And Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is a tool which covers this broader picture. So, Mobile Device Management (MDM) is now considered a part of the broader picture that is Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM).

In other words, one could say that MDM is the predecessor of EMM.

Different Acronyms, Different Capabilities

MDM(s) are still critical to enterprise mobility but it has its limitations which are sidelining them. The most obvious of them is that MDMs operate at the device level. So if an admin wants to destroy some of the data in an application that the employee uses both professionally and personally — Dropbox is a common example — all of the information must go.

This simple limitation snowballed into a problem of huge proportions when the employees’ expectations graduated from just using their devices on the company network to accessing “work-related apps without having to give up control over their personal data”. This and many other such drawbacks has eventually brought Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to the scene.

Enterprise Mobility Management is all about Flexibility

While MDM narrowed down admin’s scope of work to device-level management, EMM solutions have expanded their capabilities to set up security policies on an “application as well as information level”. The EMM features – those which MDM fails to offer – can be split into 3 major categories:

  • Mobile Application Management (MAM): Management of devices from the application level. In other words, controlling how an application accesses information, both from business network and from other apps on the device. This granular-level control is not available with Mobile Device Management (MDM) which focuses on controlling the entire device and thereby affects user freedom greatly.
  • Mobile Identity Management (MIM): Mobile identity management with EMM is not just about “role-based access” but also includes “geo-fencing”, a powerful combination that helps the businesses determine not only “who are using the devices, but also the locations from which they are being used”.
  • Mobile Content Management (MCM): Another term for application content-level control. This means supervising and controlling the content being accessed using various devices, and also imposing copy/paste restrictions and access related restrictions to business content repositories like Sharepoint. Another granular control feature which is not available with Mobile Device Management (MDM).
  • New Areas of Focus – Analytics, and Office 365 Integration: Since Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) tools gather a wealth of information about various devices or endpoints, enterprises these days are willing to invest in analytics tools to work with EMM(s) as this will help them become proactive against threats arising due to various mobile devices. Then there’s the MS Office 365 integration which many EMMs allow these days to enhance user experience.

So, taking into account the meteoric rate at which mobile device related technology is changing, it’s better to adopt the more “control-oriented, flexible and advantageous Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions” over the “out-of-date, rigid Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions” for managing various mobile devices which might become a part of an enterprise.

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