What Is Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)?

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is the distribution, organization, and control of mobile devices like cell phones, smartphones, tablets, and laptops, used in enterprise mobility. 

EMM is important because it gives companies more control over and helps protect enterprise data by managing how mobile devices interact with the enterprise infrastructure. Critics, however, voice concern over companies' ability to track the location and non-work activities of their employees.

Key Takeaways

  • Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) encompasses the distribution and management by businesses of mobile phones and tablets used by their employees to safeguard data privacy and prevent security breaches.
  • EMM also boosts productivity as applications and information needed to perform work duties can be supplied on employees' mobile devices.
  • EMM grew out of mobile device management (MDM) and includes components of MDM, mobile content management (MCM), and identity access management.

Understanding Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)

Enterprise mobility management came out of mobile device management (MDM), which focuses on the control and security of individual devices. Microsoft's 2015 Windows 10 allowed most EMM software providers to expand into unified endpoint management (UEM), which allows information technology departments to manage personal computers and mobile devices through a single console.

Enterprise mobility management is vital for companies that need to guard against data security and privacy breaches, especially with the risk of employees losing their mobile devices or falling victim to theft. EMM ensures that the mobile devices used by employees are secure enough to protect the company‚Äôs data and private information. This security can be achieved by limiting which employees or devices can access specific information by requiring a virtual private network (VPN) or secure HTTPS connections, mandating two-factor authentication (2FA), by restricting the ability to download certain applications or visit certain websites, and/or by password-protecting the devices including using fingerprints or other biometrics.

In addition to addressing security concerns, EMM software can also help increase employee productivity because IT departments can provide them with the applications and data they need to perform work-related tasks on mobile devices.

Special Considerations

Today, EMM typically encompasses some combination of MDM, mobile application management (MAM), mobile content management (MCM), and identity and access management. MDM is the base of EMM because it relies on the combination of an agent app, which is installed on an endpoint device, and server software running in the corporate data center or the cloud. Administrators use the MDM server's management console as its headquarters to set policies and settings, and the agent enforces these policies and configures these settings by integrating with APIs built into mobile operating systems.

MAM allows administrators to set policies for specific application families, rather than for the whole device. With MCM, only approved applications can access or transmit corporate data. And identity and access management control how, when, and where workers may use corporate apps and data.

These technologies all address specific concerns, and the overlap between MDM, MAM, and MCM is quite minimal. As more organizations embraced enterprise mobility, vendors started to design products rooted in EMM, usually by adding MAM or MCM features to their MDM products. An enterprise app store or another self-service portal for application delivery and deployment is also a common component of EMM software.