As more businesses go mobile-first, enterprise mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) have become mission-critical, ensuring that employee devices are secure and access to business apps is uninterrupted. A pressing challenge for IT leaders is operating system (OS) and firmware version management, as an unplanned firmware update can lead to compatibility issues for enterprise mobile apps and the Android OS.

To combat these challenges, Samsung has developed the Enterprise Firmware Over-The-Air (E-FOTA) service, which offers a solution for these issues by integrating management of firmware updates into the MDM or EMM. Partnering with MDM providers such as VMware — whose Airwatch solution provides granular control of mobile devices — E-FOTA will allow you to manage when firmware updates are pushed out to employee devices.

Here’s how E-FOTA can improve your mobile management and security:

E-FOTA and your enterprise

Managing mobile device updates, especially a firmware update, is unique to each organization, as factors like operations scheduling, the latest threat vectors and compliance must all be taken into account. To that end, Samsung E-FOTA supports three options: Selective Update, Forced Update and Time Control updates of mobile device firmware.

1. Executing a selective update

With selective updates, your IT administrators can select which firmware versions they want your enterprise devices to use. For example, they may wish to choose to push out an “interim” firmware update that is one version back from the most recent if they are not yet ready for the latest OS.

IT admins can also test internal enterprise apps against the new firmware update before offering it. Testing ensures business users can continue working on their work tasks using their mobile devices without interruption from a bad update. A selective update is helpful when there are different device models and builds across your enterprise. IT can also plan updates by user group; for example, it can push an update to the field team but not executive management.

2. Pushing a forced update

Forced updates are an option when your security team identifies an incoming threat, like a worm or other potential compromise, that could attack your enterprise mobile devices. A forced update can be executed at any time to push the latest firmware updates to your organization’s mobile devices over the air. The key here is that end users don’t have to take any action, ensuring a complete rollout to protect all devices against an emerging threat.

3. Using time control

Time control functions let IT admins set update times, allowing business users to keep working on their enterprise tasks on their mobile devices without interruption. For example, your admins can schedule device updates to take place during a window of time that least affects employee productivity.

E-FOTA service flow

E-FOTA augments mobile device management solutions so IT admins can fit firmware updates into their existing MDM/EMM service flows. Using the Samsung E-FOTA service, your IT admins can check version lists to first test the firmware versions they want to use. After checking stability, they can distribute policies and provide employees with optimized firmware updates.

E-FOTA benefits

The Samsung E-FOTA service is optimized for mobile software and OS version management, making it a powerful addition to MDM solutions. E-FOTA delivers business clients IT stability, management and usability across their mobile workforce, enhancing what they already have in place through their MDM/EMM solution.

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Among the benefits E-FOTA brings are:

  • Making firmware management possible directly within the existing MDM/EMM, without the need for a separate console.
  • Pre-testing OS and firmware versions for optimized updates, ensuring IT stability.
  • Easy maintenance and increased IT management efficiency by minimizing the number of enterprise mobile versions your company’s devices use.

E-FOTA: The missing MDM component

Sophisticated attackers like to target mobile device firmware because it’s vulnerable, and firmware bugs do happen. The decision to integrate E-FOTA into your MDM solutions is a natural step to take to increase your mobile security posture.

Samsung combines device security, deployment and management in Knox Suite. With one license and one sign-on, organizations can use Knox Platform for Enterprise, Knox Mobile Enrollment and Knox E-FOTA.

Discover how leveraging E-FOTA for patches and updates improves security. Or get your free guide to leveraging MDM for your small business’s advantage.

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A global leader in enterprise mobility and information technology, Samsung offers a diverse portfolio of business technologies from smartphones, wearables, tablets and PCs, to digital displays and storage solutions. We are committed to putting the business customer at the core of everything we do, serving diverse industries including education, finance, government, healthcare, hospitality, public safety, retail and transportation. Follow Samsung for Business on Twitter: @SamsungBizUSA

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