*This blog post was written by Shash Anand, Vice President of Product Strategy for SOTI, a Zebra Premier Integrated Software Vendor (ISV) Partner
In any industry – retail, healthcare, transportation and logistics (T&L), field services or manufacturing – mobile devices must be ready to go the moment end users receive them. Help desk agents need to be able to “see” into devices to troubleshoot issues and access performance analytics. Organizations need to know how productive and efficient their mobile deployments are.
That means selecting the right Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution is essential to ensure fast device provisioning, simplified operational maintenance and increased user productivity. It is not scalable to have users walk to the IT department with their mobile devices to setup, secure, diagnose and remediate device issues.
If you’re in the market for an EMM solution, here are four critical factors you need to consider before deciding which one is best for your business.
Provisioning a device means setting it up with everything the end user needs so they can use it for a specific or intended purpose. This includes:
- Loading apps: Ensuring business-critical apps are installed and readily available the first time the devices are turned on by the end user.
- Configuring settings: Determining which native elements should be accessible and which should be restricted. This can be as simple as feature control (i.e. device camera and microphone) or as advanced as connectivity settings (i.e. Wi-Fi access, Bluetooth® capability, data roaming, etc.).
For Company Owned, Business Only (COBO) and Corporate Owned, Single Use (COSU) scenarios, it is very important that the EMM solution offers the necessary options to easily and efficiently setup devices for business use. The implementation should ensure proper alignment to business processes and corporate policies.
If you give employees permission to use their own devices at work, in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenario, the device enrollment process into your company-managed profiles and applications should be simple and easy for any user to follow. Anything less would deter device use and hinder mobility-delivered productivity benefits.
Beyond initial provisioning, it is just as important to ensure that the EMM solution can facilitate all future updates needed to preserve the performance and security of the device and related business software. Whether there is a new version of an application or there are changes to security policies, the solution must provide the ability to easily push these new settings to the device. Identify your device target criteria and ensure the EMM solution offers the necessary flexibility for controlled remote updates. Also confirm that provisioning can be completed quickly and with minimal touchpoints between the provisioning team and the end user. Worker productivity is dependent on those mobile devices. You don’t want anything to delay device availability.
For IT, device security is always top of mind. Especially when you consider the following statistics:
- 31% of enterprises have experienced a data breach within the past two years.
- Personal data collection and misuse is a major concern for businesses in key markets such as Germany, France, the UK and Canada.
- Enabling efficient security is the top business operation concern for 48% of organizations.
A powerful EMM solution can help protect your devices against physical and digital security threats – especially when they are being used by remote workers who could be thousands of miles away from your corporate headquarters. Here’s how:
- Geofencing: Use EMM to establish geofences and control what a device can and cannot do based on its location.
- Secure EMM browsers: Man in the middle (MITM) attacks occur when communications between two parties are intercepted by a third. By implementing secure EMM browsers, you can block untrusted websites and minimize MITM attacks or other attempts at phishing or social engineering.
- Antivirus solutions: Antivirus solutions which are built into or integrated with EMM software can prevent malware hidden in files and apps from being downloaded or installed onto a device.
- Password enforcement: The most hackable password is 123456. A robust EMM solution requires end users to select passwords which are not so easily cracked.
- Multi-factor authentication: For 70% of organizations, data leakage is the top concern when it comes to mobile security. Multi-factor authentication (password, biometrics, ID services) can be used to confirm the end user’s identity prior to device enrollment and deployment.
3. Reporting & Analytics
Companies want to know how their mobile investments are performing and ensure actions are taken to correct any inefficiencies such as:
- Battery health: What’s causing a battery on a device to drain faster than it should?
- App usage: Are corporate-built and deployed business-critical apps being used on a regular basis?
- Data usage: Are devices using data within specified parameters? Are some devices going above allocated data levels? If so, why?
- Connectivity strength: Do devices enjoy consistent connectivity when they are on a corporate network?
For businesses, EMM reporting and analytics deliver two distinct benefits. First, they allow for immediate troubleshooting and remediation the moment an issue is detected. This is critical as travel restrictions or physical distancing requirements during COVID-19 make onsite/in-person support a challenge.
Second, they enable predictive analysis by allowing you to monitor devices and receive alerts when devices violate pre-defined conditions (for example, using more data than allocated). This lets you proactively address small mobile device and app issues before they become major problems.
Your EMM provider should deliver efficient technical support and provide different support options based on your business type, number of mobile deployments and your overall mobility strategy and objectives. Things to consider include:
- Availability: If you run a 24/7/365 business, your EMM solution provider should offer 24/7/365 support.
- Languages: Can you get support in the areas in which your mobile devices are deployed and in the languages of the people using them?
- Partnerships: Does your preferred EMM solution provider support the devices or operating systems your business utilizes?
- Account management: Is it important to your organization to have access to a Technical Account Manager or expert to guide you through EMM best practices?
When it comes to your business, mobile downtime is not an option. If you aren’t confident that your EMM provider can get you up and running ASAP, you should consider a different solution.
To Sum It Up
If you’re in the market for an EMM solution, take a close look at the provisioning, security, reporting and analytics and support options it provides. If those four factors align with your business needs, there’s a strong chance that the EMM solution will help you control the cost, complexity and downtime associated with your business-critical mobile operations.
For more information on SOTI and the Zebra solution partnership, visit https://www.soti.net/partners/zebra/.