Enterprise mobility management

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Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is the set of people, processes and technology focused on managing the increasing array of mobile devices, wireless networks, and related services to enable broad use of mobile computing in a business context. This is an emerging discipline within the enterprise that has become increasingly important over the past few years as more workers have bought smartphone and tablet computing devices and have sought support for using these devices in the workplace.

The main challenges of determining the right enterprise mobility strategy for an organization is to relate the available mobile IT to the overall purpose of the work conducted, to determine how closely the business process should be aligned to the mobile IT, and how to support mobile workers when they are using these devices in the workplace.[1]

Business need[edit]

According to recent research, 234 million people in the U.S. over age 13 use a mobile device, and 65 million own a smartphone.[2] By 2012, business mobile users will make up more than 30% of all subscribers in the United States.[3] Many (~66%) smartphone owners use their personal devices for enterprise-related activities.[4]

In 2009 and 2010, an influx of high capability smartphones and similar handheld computers reached an eager marketplace. Sales of such devices were strong and based on the strength of demand, more producers released even more devices on a variety of operating systems (OSs).[5] The initial popularity of the Apple iPhone was eventually matched by the Google Android OS, while older platforms such as the Research In Motion BlackBerry maintained a significant, albeit shrinking, market share. Many consumers began looking for ways to use their new devices to improve and streamline work-related processes such as checking email. And while employers generally understood that mobile email and other work processes would increase productivity and employee satisfaction, supporting a wide variety of device types and operating systems would be complex, introducing security risks and high costs.[6][7] A turnkey method of device management was greatly needed.

The cost, security risks and mission critical nature of mobility weighs heavily on the minds of CIOs[8] and the market has responded by developing sophisticated systems designed to reduce the IT labor needed to support broad mobile device use in the enterprise. Such systems are generally referred to as enterprise mobility management.

Andrew Borg of the Aberdeen Group has this to say about enterprise mobility management: "Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), the comprehensive 'cradle-to-grave' approach of managing the full mobility lifecycle, has become a hallmark of top performing organizations."[9]


Enterprise mobility management has several dimensions including security, application management and financial management.


Because mobile devices are easily lost or stolen, data on those devices is highly vulnerable. When corporate data is accessible via a personal mobile device, organizations suddenly lose a great deal of control over who can access that data. Enterprise mobility management proposes systems to prevent unauthorized access to enterprise applications and/or corporate data on mobile devices. These can include password protection, encryption and/or remote wipe technology, which allows an administrator to delete all data from a misplaced device. With many systems, security policies can be centrally managed and enforced. Such device management systems are programmed to support and cooperate with the application programming interfaces (APIs) from various device makers to increase security compliance without increased labor.[10]

The data transfer between mobile device and the enterprise should always be encrypted, for example through a VPN tunnel[11] or over HTTPS[12] with two-factor authentication.

Mobile devices in Companies with BYOD concepts are often used both personally and professionally. Thereby the corporate IT has less control over whether malware is on the device and what damage may be caused to corporate data. Apart from careful user behavior - data storage on the mobile device must be limited and centrally organized.

With full integration of mobile devices into the Active Directory, users only act within their own permissions, which makes administration easier and increases security for mobile access to the corporate network.[13]

Application management

System administrators cannot expect to have the same access to mobile device clients as they would have to desktop devices that don't leave an office. Lack of access combines with operating system heterogeneity to make routine tasks such as deployments, configuration settings, application installations and help desk tasks very difficult. Each device has unique management requirements and tasks often must be performed remotely, over the air. Enterprise mobility management systems generally provide middleware to automate management tasks and insulate administrators from the complexity of performing tasks on many different types of devices. It also provides infrastructure to securely administer devices over the air. Self-management portals, which allow users to download updates and applications on their own, are another common feature.

Financial management

The cost of voice and data were once wholly contained within the walls of the enterprise. With mobile devices this is no longer the case. Often, each employee negotiates their own contract with a mobile carrier and then bills his employer for some or all of these costs as a reimbursement, creating budget unpredictability for the organization. Enterprise mobility management often includes telecom expense management features that help organizations plan for and control the overall costs of mobile voice and data transmissions. Other tasks such as carrier contract negotiations, invoice processing and/or device requisition costs, when appropriate, can also be included.

Switching to mobile web apps can be a solution to the problem

In the case of mobile web apps, both the data and the applications reside on the web server that is hosted in highly secured data center. Nothing resides in the end user devices. Users access and update corporate information with the use of a web browser on the mobile device and a log-in account. Each user is provided with a login id and password pair that can be revoked by the administrator at short notice. Additional password security can be provided by adding an SDKEY supported device. Session security is provided by the proven SSL VPN connection security and encryption technology. SSL server certificate issued by an authorized provider has to be installed on the web server. The web server access log logs all user accesses. The log can double as intrusion detection tool, logging all accesses including illegal access attempts. Access permissions to different applications and data sets on the system can be granted or removed from users and user groups by the administrator. No installation is required on the end user mobile devices. Since users prefer to use their own personal devices to access corporate information, there is no need for employer to provide such devices. Furthermore, the same apps and data are also available to traditional desktop and laptop users.

See also[edit]


Enterprise Mobility Strategies, ACS, May 2009.

O'Sullivan, Cian, More Smartphones in the Enterprise Means More Security Risk, GoMo News, June 2011.

How EMM Works with Apple Push Technologies, Bushel, August 2014.


  1. ^ Kietzmann, J., Plangger, K., Eaton, B., Heilgenberg, K., Pitt, L., Berthon, P. (2013). "Mobility at work: A typology of mobile communities of practice and contextual ambidexterity" (PDF). Journal of Strategic Information Systems 3 (4). doi:10.1016/j.jsis.2013.03.003. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Flosi, Stephanie Lyn (6 January 2011). "U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share". comScore. comScore, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Alms, Dean (September 2008). "Understanding Mobility Management: Trends, Priorities and Imperatives" (PDF). Visage Mobile. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Ellis, Lisa, Jeffrey Saret, and Peter Weed (2012). "BYOD: From company-issued to employee-owned devices" (PDF). Telecom, Media & High Tech Extranet: No. 20 Recall. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Grew 35% in Third Quarter". Gartner. Retrieved November 2010. 
  6. ^ Drake, Stephen (October 2008). "Embracing Next Generation Mobile Platforms to Solve Business Problems" (PDF). Computerworld Inc. IDC. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Penfold, Andy (June 2011). "Sybase Warns Enterprise Over Mobile Security". Mobile Marketing. Dot Media Ltd. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Rashid, Fahmida Y. (9 March 2011). "Mobile Security a Headache for CIOs, Not a Concern for Users". eWeek. Ziff Davis Enterprise Holdings Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Borg, Andrew (27 July 2011). "Enterprise Mobility Management Goes Global: Mobility Becomes Core IT". Aberdeen Group, Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  10. ^ Cox, John (14 February 2011). "Samsung's 90 New APIs Boost Mobile Device Management, Security". Network World. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Patrick Oliver Graf, 4 Essentials For Mobile Device VPNs. InformationWeek, 2014-10-31. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  12. ^ Kimberly Palmer, 10 Ways to keep your phone safe. U.S.News Money, 2015-1-13. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  13. ^ Microsoft Developer Network, Accessing Active Directory Using Visual Basic. Microsoft, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2015.