Device Management

5 Enterprise Mobility Management Pain Points – And How to Solve Them

In a world where 80 percent of businesses say their employees can’t do their jobs without mobile devices, managing mobile device infrastructure and access is an essential component of enterprise success.

But it can also be a challenging one. Factors such as the diversity of mobile devices and software, ever-evolving mobile security threats, and rapidly changing compliance rules make enterprise mobility management (EMM) difficult to optimize. These challenges can be overcome, but only with the help of a dynamic, innovative approach to EMM.

To prove this point, here’s a look at five common challenges in EMM, along with tips on how to address them.

1. The Need for Specialized Application Support

Employees sometimes need to run specialized applications that require hardware features such as biometric input or sophisticated temperature sensors. The applications may also depend on special software libraries or other configurations not available in standard Android builds.

The challenge here for enterprises lies in efficiently acquiring phones that can support these applications, then deploying customized applications to them. This can be hard to do because consumer smartphones typically don’t offer the specialized features necessary for these use cases.

But by leveraging dedicated devices that are custom-designed to provide the necessary hardware and/or software configurations, businesses can empower their employees with the mobile solutions they need, without being restricted by what is available on the consumer market.

2. Mobile Compliance Challenges

You are probably aware of compliance frameworks (like HIPAA), which impose rules regarding the storage and management of sensitive data. But what you may not realize is that compliance is rapidly becoming even more challenging as new laws come into effect.

For example, the California Privacy Rights Act, which was passed in 2020 and will be enforced starting in 2023, adds a variety of new requirements that enterprises must meet when managing data associated with consumers in California. Other states may follow suit with their own laws.

Not only this, but existing compliance laws like the GDPR are continuing to evolve as court cases test their principles and set new precedents that companies must adhere to in order to comply.

For EMM, the steadily increasing complexity of the compliance landscape means businesses must have a flexible and adaptable means of controlling which data resides on mobile devices and how it is secured.

Here again, customized devices can help enterprises by providing more control over how mobile data is managed. For example, a custom mobile OS could include OS-level data security protections that are not available in generic Android, which is not designed for enterprise compliance needs.

3. Mobile Security Threats

Attacks that target mobile devices are on the rise, yet enterprises are increasingly underinvesting in mobile security, according to a Verizon report.

On the one hand, it’s easy to see why. Making security a priority in EMM can make EMM more complicated. For example, enterprises may have less control over how devices are configured, it could take longer to deploy devices, and so on.

But skimping on security in the interest of efficiency is never a good idea. A responsible EMM strategy should allow enterprises the flexibility to implement whichever safeguards they need to keep mobile data and applications safe, even if it means using non-standard mobile hardware or software.

4. Integration

To deliver the greatest value, mobile devices should integrate seamlessly with other enterprise IT systems. Yet achieving this integration can be difficult, especially when the devices that employees use vary widely in format and configuration.

One way to help address this problem is to plan your EMM strategy with integration as a starting point. In other words, rather than waiting until you’ve already deployed devices to figure out how to integrate them, determine what your integration requirements are first, and which mobile hardware and software features are necessary to enable them. Then find mobile devices that offer those features.

In many instances, you’ll likely find that leveraging custom devices is the best way to achieve the level of mobile integration your business needs. Consumer smartphones present more challenges in this regard because they limit your ability to configure and connect different devices and applications.

By treating integration as a first-order priority, and building your EMM approach on a foundation of devices that enable maximum integration, it becomes easier to build a mobile infrastructure that reinforces rather than hinders your broader IT strategy.

5. Lost, Stolen, and Compromised Devices

No matter how carefully you track devices or how much you educate users, there will always be a risk that devices will be lost, stolen, or compromised in a breach.

One obvious step to take when this happens is to react swiftly and decisively by isolating affected devices from the network.

But don’t settle for a reactive approach to device theft or compromise. When possible, you can take a proactive stance on mobile security in an enterprise setting by deploying dedicated devices that are locked down by default. For example, you can give retail employees a device whose only capability is to manage inventory or order stock or equip hospitality workers with devices that can only place orders.

That way, if the device is lost, stolen, or breached, the potential impact is much lower because the only assets at risk are the limited set of resources that the device was designed to access.

Conclusion: A Modern Approach to EMM

Many businesses think of EMM as something they implement in response to the mobile challenges they already face. That may work, but it places you in a reactive rather than proactive position relative to EMM.

A more effective approach is to start by recognizing the mobile challenges that your business faces in areas like security, compliance, and device management, then implement solutions that address those challenges. This strategy allows you to deploy the mobile hardware, software, and management that allows you to get the most out of EMM from the start, rather than trying to patch the holes in an EMM strategy that is based on flawed devices and management practices.