Do you remember phrases like OMA DM, SyncML or OMA CP? No? Take it easy! It’s been a long time since the foundation of the first Mobile Device Management systems (or some similar systems) appeared on the market. Since then a lot has changed, a lot of new protocols and many more systems have been made. Now, most of you have probably heard about shortcuts like MDM, EMM and the hottest and latest one – UEM. Let’s take a short trip in time to see what those mean.
Mobile devices are part of our life and it is really hard to imagine working without these tools even if you are an employee of a nuclear power plant! Let me tell you a story.
Jan is a 34-years old engineer, he loved uranium since he was a little boy. In his daily work mobile device is used not only to communicate with the headquarter but first of all to have the latest information about the power plant’s health. Let’s now only focus on Jan’s mobile device.
Jan got his device from the IT department – brand new Android device delivered in a box. Magic happened on the first run, he was informed that the device will be enrolled with a special platform to manage his device. Jan needed to set a complex password – now every time he wants to use it, he needs to input that password. There is already a corporate email on the phone to be in touch with his co-workers, some apps with power plant health monitor and Internet browser – they were installed without any interaction. What’s interesting, the GPS module has been blocked – that’s smart, GPS is not available in this place – it will save his device a lot of battery life. Once Jan has a problem with access to corporate email, the IT department connects to his device in real-time – like Remote Desktop on his Windows computer – to solve the issue. Jan is aware that in case of loss of his device it can be easily locked down by the IT team.
This is an MDM part – Mobile Device Management, which allows you to enrol, configure and secure the device.
Jan is a multitasking person and a photographer-amateur. Since Jan’s corporate device has a dedicated place for company’s only data, he can use the device as his private one too. He can install any application from the official app store, like advanced photo editors he used to have on his old, private one. The only difference now is that it’s much safer – unknown sources are blocked, so only trusted app sources are allowed. What’s important, all corporate data, email account and apps are stored in a dedicated, encrypted memory. Funny thing that ‘copy and paste’ doesn’t work between corporate and personal space, so it is impossible to send the company’s file using private email. The Internet browser in the corporate space is also secured. It allows Jan to open an internal document and check the tasks board only, all the others are blocked.
MDM and above features are called EMM – Enterprise Mobility Management. It provides data separation, application and content management.
Since Jan works sometimes on the computer in his office to prepare daily reports, the computer and peripheral devices need to be secured. The computer is Windows-based, the same as his private one. The computer is prepared for daily work – similar to his mobile device – there are important applications installed by the IT department, email account, an Internet browser – he can’t open his favourite news portal, as it is blocked (as well as other public websites). The IT department knows even which monitor and printer are connected to his computer and it’s monitored in real-time, it is also impossible to connect USB with private photos.
EMM solutions that allow you to manage all operating systems like Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and many other devices with a single interface to manage them are called now UEM – Unified Endpoint Management.
Jan is lucky to live in times when devices like smartphones, tablets or personal computers make our daily work easier. He doesn’t have to worry about the data leakage or securing data on those devices thanks to solutions like UEM system. The nuclear power plant is most probably a totally extreme example but our hero-employee can be found in every other industry, even at local florist!
Let’s keep in mind that the above devices are only the beginning of UEM systems usage – they are going to manage the whole spectrum of company devices, even wearables like smartwatches or…helmets! Stay tuned for more details!