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5 EMM Essentials for Managing Enterprise Mobile Devices

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Enterprise Mobile Device Solutions

Workers that rely on their mobile devices in extreme environmental conditions depend on having always-on connectivity, wherever and whenever they’re in the field.

Enterprise mobile device users are likely to spend their days out of the office — in the field responding to fires and emergencies; on the manufacturing floor ensuring production processes are running smoothly, or perched on top of a utility pole fixing a junction box.

Managing commercial mobile devices efficiently and securely requires an Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) plan and solution, an all-encompassing approach to securing and enabling employee use of not only smartphones but also other enterprise mobile devices. As a PC Magazine report notes, today’s IT administrators are charged with keeping track of an ever-growing number of connected mobile devices within their networks.

In nearly all businesses and government organizations, enterprise mobile devices are deployed to support a wide range of functions, such as customer support, asset tracking, inventory management, route planning, call progress, and time management. These devices and applications must be set-up and optimized to run smoothly to improve workflow and business processes. Also, critical to consider is protecting the data and enterprise systems they are interfacing with at all times.

Enterprise-level mobile device management solutions come in many varieties and provide different levels of support and functionality, including asset tracking and analytics, as well as managing device security.   

Here are five key capabilities EMM solutions include:

  • Mobile device management
  • User permissions
  • Fast connectivity
  • Compatibility with diverse operating systems
  • Scalability

Streamlining Mobile Device Management

When devices are routinely used by employees who spend the majority of their time in the field, deployment, management, and troubleshooting are critical. An EMM should help automate the provisioning process whenever an employee is given a new mobile device. One of the important benefits of an EMM is the ability to streamline device provisioning based on user roles and profiles.

An EMM should reduce set-up time by automatically configuring new devices with the appropriate user information, apps, content, VPN, or other required settings. During the lifecycle for every device, an EMM also must enable a company’s IT team to quickly and efficiently support, manage, and troubleshoot issues with hardware, software, and connectivity.

With an EMM, many support functions can be managed remotely, increasing both device uptime and employee productivity. Among the services an EMM should provide are user help, file and data transfer, remote task management, system and battery status, soft and hard device resets, remote lock/wipe, and location services.

“EMM platforms help companies secure their mobile infrastructure, as well as control device policies and manage mobile apps, content, networks, and services,” notes a vendor comparison report in ComputerWorld. “EMM also plays a role in overseeing expenses related to communications services, mobile policies, and identity management.

Enabling Multiple User Permissions

The ability to use an EMM to restrict devices to a single application or suite of applications, based on user permissions, is important for many industries. Delivery companies, utilities, and cable companies are examples in which fieldworkers often share a mobile device.

EMM solutions should provide security and control that enables the creation of different user or department profiles. Those profiles can then be used to control which applications and data are available to each specific user of a mobile device.

SOTI MobiControl, a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for EMMs, for example, restricts devices to a custom display that allows users to access only their own authorized applications. It also can monitor devices for unapproved activities and move them to the background, where unauthorized users can’t access them.

In addition to securing company-owned devices, EMM solutions allow for “bring-your-own-device” options. “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,” notes a Citrix report.

Facilitating Reliable Connectivity For Enterprise Mobile Devices

Maintaining employee productivity and customer satisfaction requires consistent and reliable mobile connectivity. That means employees need to be able to connect securely to the Internet, and their company’s network, from wherever they are working. “Workers are more mobile than ever, and the reliance upon high-performance networks has never been greater,” says a Brandwatch report.

An EMM should enable remote workers to automatically connect to the Internet using the best available network. Users working remotely, for example, may only be able to access the Internet via 4G, while others may be able to access a faster 5G network. In urban areas, mobile devices also should be provisioned to take advantage of secure Wi-Fi or VPN connections, when they are available.

Support Compatibility

Company networks need the ability to connect with mobile devices using different operating systems. A robust EMM solution will support device compatibility by enabling an enterprise network to connect with and manage devices running on diverse operating systems, such as Android, Windows, iOS, or Linux.

“All the major offerings in this arena cover the basics when it comes to hardware management, but there are differences when it comes to some of the extended mobile management features you may require,” says the Computerworld report.

Accommodating Scalability

A company’s EMM solution should have the elasticity to evolve as hardware requirements and technology evolve. Over the next five years, for example, EMM software will need the ability to manage a growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including mobile phones, remote sensors, and thousands of other endpoints.

“5G will build upon earlier investments in traditional Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications to enable significant increases in economies of scale that drive adoption and utilization across all sectors,” notes an IHS Markit report. “This will, in turn, drive much greater uptake of mobile technologies to address massive IoT applications.”

EMM solutions will be essential for integrating mobility and IoT solutions. SOTI and Panasonic have, for example, partnered on mobile solutions for the retail, warehousing, and transportation sectors.

In the retail sector, SOTI MobiControl EMM solutions are being used to deliver end-to-end security and management of mobile devices and IoT endpoints across the entire supply chain. Retailers are, for instance, using EMM software to give warehouse workers and store associates mobile devices that include barcode scanners or RFID readers. Moreover, mobile technology is being used for electronic logging devices (ELDs), such as trailer track-and-trace systems, that provide end-to-end visibility of products, wherever they are in the supply chain.

EMM solutions, like SOTI MobiControl, can simplify the security and management of multi-vendor, multi form-factor, and multi-operating devices in an enterprise-wide mobility ecosystem — all through a single, easy-to-use interface.

Mobile device reliability, employee productivity, and customer satisfaction are all mission-critical. As the new 5G wireless standard supercharges the IoT, having a robust EMM in place will be de rigueur for every company that has employees in the field who rely on their mobile devices to get the job done.

In addition to the management capabilities of EMM discussed in this article, new additional mobile device performance tools and insights are available to help keep these critical frontline workers’ tools performing. We’ll take a look at these new capabilities — beyond traditional enterprise mobility management in another article to be published here shortly. 

Learn more about the importance of mobile device management and our other Panasonic ProServices here.