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While Embarking On A Journey Of Byod, Enterprise Mobility Management Is A Must

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Ananth Subramanian, SVP & Head IT, Kotak AMC

The word mobility is passé. or is it not? This word, no longer refers to just movement or the ability to go freely from one place to another. It, now, brings to mind images of mobile devices, such as tablets, smartphones, ipads, and chromebooks; anything and everything that is portable, pocketable and easily connects to the internet now constitutes mobility. And the usage of these devices is increasing by leaps and bounds every day.

While mobile devices are one of the most powerful tools available today, one needs to actually review as to whether they add value to our lives-personally and professionally?. Are they a boon or a bane? What are the pitfalls? Are they secure enough? How do we protect ourselves and prevent snooping to ensure that the data stored is secure?

Enterprise mobility allows employees to work virtually from anywhere in the world with the help of mobile devices; they no longer need to be bound or restricted to fixed a workstation or office space. This article focuses on Enterprise Mobility, specifically in the context of using digital devices for business.

Use Cases
Enterprise mobility has wide-ranging uses case in the corporate world. A few obvious ones are:

Emails: Imagine a busy executive enroute to a meeting, halting and booting up a laptop to connect to the internet, to read his mails! A scenario incongruous in the digital world! Enterprises today empower users to read and respond to their mails from their mobile devices. This could be a tablet or any other hand held device.

CRM Apps: ‘Feet on the Street’ is the term used for those team members who strive hard to bring sales revenue to the organisation. In order to facilitate the sales team in gaining better customer insights, reducing TATs, and offering better customer service, mobile apps enabling all these functionalities are now a basic hygiene.

Productivity Apps: Whether an android or iOS device—collaborative tools work best with any of them. Tools like excel, and word, which were previously available only on desktops, are now available for handheld devices and these have changed the dynamics of enterprise productivity. Even a powerpoint presentation can today be done using a hand held device.

While the advantages are plenty, and sectors ranging from healthcare to manufacturing, to media or even the crucial financial sectors are employing this, one needs to keep in mind that when it comes to Enterprise Mobility, security needs to get utmost consideration. Globally available statistics quote that around 70 million smartphones get lost every year.

So what constitutes Enterprise Mobility
EMM is an evolved state of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept. In fact EMM helps an organisation help sync work data with personal data on users personal devices with proper demarcation and control. Some of the key components of EMM are listed and detailed below:

Mobile Device Management
When corporates allow enterprise data to be used on personal devices, it is necessary that such access is properly managed and controlled. MDM allows enterprises to do just that. It enables organisations to remotely wipe out corporate information, in case devices are lost or stolen. Enterprises create specific user profiles and policies, which can be pushed to these devices as soon as these devices are enrolled into the MDM solution. The same policy can be applied across devices for the user and would work in the same manner, seamlesly.

It also helps organisations to know how many devices registered in the organisation have corporate data synced in them. It can detect and restrict rogue and jail-broken devices ensuring a secure working environment.

Email Management
A basic requirement for any employee who is on the move would be the ability to access his corporate mails on his mobile device, seamlessly.

EMM ensures that there is a controlled access of his emails on the device without compromising on the security of the information. It is important to note that emails come with lots of attachments which may be sensitive in nature. The EMM solution should be robust enough to ensure that while the employee can download and view the data, it should not be easy enough for the person to simply take it out from device and copy it out on his SD card or any other removable device. He should also not be able to transfer it to any of his personal email id. The EMM protocol ensures that corporate email data does not breach the corporate perimeter and all enterprise data remains within the logical email containers.

Application management
Corporates have many internal applications, which they would have developed for improving productivity of the organisation. These are primarily only for in-house use and its employees only. How does one make these internal apps available to employees when they are outside the corporate network? EMM facilitates these, it allows creation of a logical space within the devices, which demarcates personal and corporate apps. Applications can be automatically pushed to these devices and also can be removed if need. A corporate play store allows users to select and download the apps pushed by the organisation.

Mobile Content Management
EMM helps achieve control of web content similar to what is achieved within the organisation. It helps control and block unauthorised web access, unlawful or malicious sites. Secure web gateways ensure that corporate users do not get on to unwanted and unethical url’s and thereby becoming vulnerable to viruses and malwares.

Data Leakage Prevention
Any discussion on EMM is incomplete with out a word on DLP. Breaches from inside the organisation are greater than those from the outside. How do you prevent a rogue employee from sending across sensitive information outside? It makes sense to prevent data being leaked than have a solution, which may identify what was leaked subsequently.

Having a robust EMM solution ensures that the corporate data is clearly segregated from personal data. It prevents corporate data from mobile devices to be sent across via personal mail ids to any user. EMM ensures that even screenshots are prevented—even a screen shot of sensitive data viewed on mobile cannot be forwarded via whatsapp or other social media platforms!!.

Unified Endpoint Management – the next phase of EMM
According to Gartner, ‘Enterprise mobility management suite functionality is evolving into a unified endpoint management’. With BYOD practices being increasingly employed by many organisations, the EMM does not restrict itself to only mobile devices any longer. It has also penetrated devices like wearables, and digital kiosks. It then becomes necessary that users share the same seamless experience of corporate workloads with the same controls and governance across devices. Unified endpoint management then comes into the picture. UEM includes all the capabilities of EMM, but it also allows IT to manage all types of endpoints, including iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome OS, and Mac OS, through a single console.

Available solutions
There are multiple solution providers in the market today, who provide Enterprise level mobility management platforms. Good old blackberry devices were the earliest to incorporate MDM and while they are no longer being used due to other disruptive technologies, one still swears by the security of any blackberry device. Having said that, today Citrix, IBM, and VMware are some of the top solution providers in this segment.

For any organisation embarking on a journey of BYOD, EMM is a must. Even when corporates provide devices to users for mail or other corporate data and application access, without a strong and competent EMM solution in place, secure digital transformation can never be achieved. Digital proliferation is here to stay and it is only fair that organisations enable the workforce with solutions that are win-win for all.

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