This content is part of the Essential Guide: Enterprise mobility management software offerings and use cases

Considerations for choosing enterprise mobility tools

Mobile device management may be long gone, but IT pros still have many options to enroll, secure and manage their organization's fleet of mobile devices. Discover what the options are.

As platforms evolve from enterprise mobility management to unified endpoint management, it may be unclear how mobile devices fit into the picture.

Mobile device management is now a part of comprehensive endpoint management platforms, and IT pros have a variety of options when it comes to choosing, enrolling and securing mobile devices

Here are three questions IT pros can ask to help them choose and deploy the right enterprise mobility tools for their organizations.

What enterprise mobility tools are available?

One option is to use an open source enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. If the organization is willing to invest in the resources, open source EMM offers the flexibility to customize and extend the source code to match specific needs. IT pros should be aware of challenges that can come with maintaining their own open source EMM, such as hidden costs of deployment and lack of support.

A few options for open source EMM include WSO2 Enterprise Mobility Manager or Teclib's Flyve MDM. WSO2's offering includes enterprise mobility tools such as mobile application management and mobile identity management. It also includes open source support for IoT devices, such as enrollment and application management, through IoT Server.

Organizations looking for more established enterprise mobility tools can look to UEM platforms including Citrix Workspace, VMware Workspace One, IBM MaaS360, BlackBerry Unified Endpoint Manager, MobileIron UEM or Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, which includes Intune. Microsoft will deprecate the hybrid Intune feature in September 2019, however, and move Intune to Azure. With Intune for Azure, IT pros can manage identity and control access to Office 365 applications and corporate email, for example, from the cloud.  

How can IT easily enroll and secure mobile devices?

Organizations can find it difficult to enroll a large fleet of mobile devices to a UEM server. One way to simplify this is through QR code enrollment. Administrators can generate a QR code and send it to end users to scan and download the configured policies.

But with a large organization, mobile device enrollment is a time-consuming process that requires multiple resources. Enterprise mobility tools such as the Apple Device Enrollment Program, Samsung Knox Mobile Enrollment and Windows AutoPilot offer automated features to eliminate manual configuration and speed up the enrollment process.

Once IT enrolls mobile devices onto the server, IT pros should decide whether they will allow end users to back up these devices. For example, if the devices are corporate-owned, business-operated (COBO), there is no reason to store company data permanently on them, so there's no reason for users to back them up to personal accounts.

For corporate-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) devices, IT should restrict users from backing up data to personal Google accounts or cloud services such as iCloud. Backing up BYOD devices can get tricky, since end users generally don't respond well to restriction on personal devices.

What's in store for enterprise mobility tools in the future?

The market for enterprise mobility tools is changing. In the past, many MDM platforms didn't include capabilities such as mobile application and identity management. EMM attempted to connect different device management features into one platform but doesn't address PC management.

Now as more devices such as IoT sensors, tablets and smartphones enter the workforce, there is an increased need for organizations to adopt unified endpoint management (UEM) to deal with all of these devices in one offering.

The UEM market is still in its early stages, but many vendors such as BlackBerry, Citrix and VMware are improving the PC management capabilities in their tools. IT professionals can continue to use existing EMM platforms before committing to UEM, however, because the market is still nascent.  

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