5 ways to improve your enterprise mobility management strategy

By Jonathan Crowl

The global mobile workforce will rise to 1.87 billion people by 2022, representing 42.5 percent of the entire global workforce, according to RCR Wireless. As the mainstream workforce morphs into a mobile workforce, companies are looking at ways to make the transition as smooth as possible.

To do that, companies have invested in enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms. EMM solutions enable organizations to rapidly advance their mobile device governance through enhanced security and formalized use policies, all while simplifying the task of IT management.

As these EMM solutions evolve and change, businesses are also fine-tuning their device management strategies to leverage the benefits of this mobile environment while controlling the risks of security breaches, data loss and the high costs associated with device management. Here are five ways you can improve your EMM strategy by taking advantage of emerging trends:

1. Set device restrictions based on security needs

Companies can vary widely in where and why they draw the line on device restrictions. Security concerns are common reasons these restrictions are enacted, but companies might also choose to clamp down on device use for personal reasons or other behaviors and actions that don’t comply with company policy.

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Companies have a lot of latitude in how they set these restrictions, but they should also be mindful of the blowback that can come with restrictions that appear harsh or unnecessary.

Of course, security restrictions are always paramount, and employees aren’t likely to be upset if they understand this logic. However, those same employees could be unhappy if you block social networks, personal email or other potential diversions. Unless there’s a security issue at play, it’s rarely worth lowering the organization’s morale just to force your employees to stay focused on work. This is especially vital if you have a BYOD policy, since one of the benefits of BYOD for employees is the ability for their devices to function as both business and personal tools while at work.

2. Shift company culture toward mobile transformation

Enterprise mobility management may provide necessary governance and support to employee devices, but it’s only part of the recipe for jump-starting mobile transformation and innovation within a company. Employees need to understand that improved mobility is designed to uplift worker productivity, device security and the overall customer experience. In fact, Fliplet estimates that the average company gains an extra 240 hours of productivity every year from each mobile employee. This message can be carried by IT professionals and other C-suite executives, not just the CIO. It should be framed less as an IT initiative and more as a venture that will drive transformation throughout the organization and make everyone’s jobs easier.

3. Weigh the cost of containers carefully

Containerization is an increasingly popular strategy for segmenting the contents of a mobile device and creating individual contexts that dictate which parts of the device can be accessed, as well as when and by whom. It’s a popular strategy for protecting sensitive data that lives on the user’s device, and it lessens the threat of malware and other security breaches.

The downside is that these containers often throw a wrench into device functionality and worker productivity. As BizTech Magazine points out, containers often force users to switch between different contexts to gain access to different information available through their devices. This can add up to a lot of wasted time spent switching from one container to the next.

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On top of this, containers are also much more of a burden for IT departments when it comes to monitoring and maintaining them. Advocates of containers will argue they’re a necessary evil to protect the company from potential disaster, and in certain cases, that might be true. Every company will have to decide for itself whether the digital threats it may face are worth the difficult user experience that comes with containerization.

4. Support security through a unified platform

Unified endpoint management is gaining traction as a subset of EMM that manages a whole range of enterprise devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, wearables, IoT devices and anything else connected to the enterprise environment. Unified platforms simplify the process of managing different technologies using different operating systems, streamlining the demands on IT to manage the entire enterprise environment.

By using a unified platform, companies can address potential security gaps that would otherwise be exposed whenever a new touchpoint was added to the EMM environment.

5. Leverage the cloud

According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Cloud IT Infrastructure Tracker, investments in cloud IT infrastructure will increase while a majority of regions expect to see a reduction in spending on non-cloud deployments in 2017. A combination of public and private clouds is being used for everything from hosting applications to storing data. For enterprise mobility management, the cloud can be a solution for housing certain services or even highly sensitive data that shouldn’t be kept on employee devices. Cloud solutions offer the flexibility to support an existing EMM strategy without burdening IT with additional maintenance tasks and creating new security challenges for the company. As the shape of enterprise device environments changes rapidly over the next few years, cloud-based IT solutions offer greater agility to meet evolving demands.

Unsecured devices are threats to the entire enterprise. IT has no choice but to manage these devices to minimize potential threats. As EMM evolves, look out for new solutions and strategic shifts that strengthen your mobile management without constraining your day-to-day operations.