As mobile devices gain traction in the workplace, organizations are faced with a new cybersecurity challenge: securing a new, pocket-sized window to the outside world. There are also important considerations for internal use, such as managing access to certain privileged data and moderating use for maximum productivity. Enterprise mobility management (EMM) solves these concerns by allowing IT departments to control device behavior from one central location in the network. It can extend to any device whether it’s provided by the company (corporate-liable) or the employee (Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD).

EMM provisions devices, maintains security policies and protects confidential information, just to name a few functions. It also covers enterprise application management for utilities such as employee directories or HR paperwork software on phones and tablets. Different third-party vendors offer varying EMM solutions for each client. However, not every partner will meet an organization’s needs, and some may change over the course of an agreement. In those cases, it may be time to find a new provider. Fortunately, the process is not all that difficult. With the explosion in mobile devices in the workplace, EMM developers have stepped up to meet demand, offering unified solutions that cover every need.

What to Consider When Changing Providers

With so many different options in the way of smartphones, tablets, operating systems and app suites, IT departments often have to consider compatibility when finding enterprise mobility management solutions. This is made more difficult in BYOD-based workplaces or organizations that allow personal devices on their networks. Sixty-five percent of U.S. businesses allow employees to have their own smartphones connected to Wi-Fi®, while 55 percent allow personal tablets, according to a March 2015 Frost and Sullivan report. However, at present, only 34 percent of companies have full EMM integration with multiple platforms, meaning that their solutions extend to every employee device. However, 37 percent operate within a siloed infrastructure where there are different solutions for each type of device. The latter is highly inefficient; companies spend more money purchasing software licenses and more time doing maintenance on each platform. Therefore, look for EMM providers with integrated support.

In industries with sensitive financial or client data, another major consideration is conformity with federal guidelines. In banking, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council sets forth confidentiality requirements that all banks need to meet with physical and electronic data. The council is also researching cybersecurity practices with its member institutions in order to create a minimum standard for defense, with which all accredited members must comply. Similarly, all healthcare institutions must abide the provisions in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which, in part, defines measures for patient confidentiality. In these industries, workers’ mobile devices can contain sensitive information that would be potentially destructive in a cyberattack. Therefore, on the security end, EMM solutions should meet federal requirements while enacting further security measures to protect clients’ data. Noncompliance could likely result in fines, legal action and the loss of customer trust.

Best Practices For New Enterprise Mobility Management

As mobile device usage increases, so does demand for mobile management solutions, which creates a booming market for developers. However, with around 160 mobile device management tools currently available, this bubble is bound to burst. In a 2014 report, Gartner estimates that by 2019 the EMM market will condense into a handful of integrated, full-service options that will make choosing a solution much easier. In the meantime, though, a best practice is to place a time limit on engagements with EMM partners, which leaves room to consider other options should an agreement fall through. Experts suggest 24 months as an average term with possible renewal if the provider meets expectations.

Another best practice is to consider mobile solutions from platform producers like Samsung, which makes integration easier since developers have full access to various devices’ infrastructures. Samsung KNOX is a solution that secures data from external attacks, allows data management from a central source and protects a user’s private data using containerization, a feature that is especially useful in BYOD environments. For financial institutions, FireEye, a Samsung partner, is also a valuable option. The software allows administrators to actively detect and monitor network threats, thereby providing them the information they need to mount a proactive defense.

Enterprise mobility management allows organizations to stay abreast of potential threats and control access to sensitive data. With companies’ increasing reliance on mobile devices in the workplace, even one breach can be ruinous. Fortunately, though, the number of EMM solutions available means that there are plenty of options. If your provider isn’t right for your organization, consider finding a new one.

Want to learn more about what to look for in an EMM solution? Read the white paper.

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Michael Halloran

Michael Halloran publishes the FinTech Blog on innovation and trends in financial services firms and startups, and is head of partnerships and business development at Previously, he was with Morgan Stanley, where he managed partner relationships in the wealth management division. He began his career as a consultant at Gemini Consulting, where he helped launch the U.K.'s first online bank. He was also a managing director at Scient (now Razorfish). Follow him on Twitter: @fintechblogger

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