Best Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Solutions for 2021

Managing mobile apps and devices is a challenge faced by all organizations these days. One technology that’s evolved to address mobile security, access and control is enterprise mobility management (EMM), itself an evolution of mobile device management (MDM) and bring your own device (BYOD) practices. In this guide, eSecurity Planet provides an overview of the features and top vendors that define the EMM market today.

What is EMM?

The BYOD phenomenon – employees bringing their own devices to work – posed challenges for organizations trying to maintain secure access to networks and data. Mobile device management (MDM) was the initial response to the challenge and focused on device enrollment and access. Mobile application management (MAM) also appeared on the scene to control data and applications on mobile devices.

Those technologies have been superseded by enterprise mobility management (EMM), a sophisticated technology that combines MDM and MAM, offering access, data protection, app management, threat management, separation of personal and work data, and visibility and control.

The core goal of EMM solutions is to provide insight into the applications and data being accessed by mobile devices, to limit potential risks and maintain corporate compliance.

Evaluating EMM vendors

eSecurityPlanet has selected five of the top EMM vendors to provide an overview of key features that organizations need so they can control mobility and limit security risks.

At the most basic level, there are three core capabilities that all organizations need from an EMM solution:

  • Visibility: Understanding what’s running on mobile devices is the key to creating compliance policies and being able to detect potential risks. Simply put, if you don’t know what’s running, how can you control the risk?
  • Secure access: Providing the ability for mobile users to securely access applications and data is a core element of EMM. It’s imperative that organizations help their users to securely access applications while maintaining proper security controls.
  • Data protection: Malware happens; the best EMM solutions provide anti-malware and data protection capabilities to help limit the risk of breaches and data loss.

Looking beyond the basics, among the advanced features that EMM can provide are: secure web browsers that provide encapsulated internet sessions that limit the risk of attacks; application performance and monitoring; application catalogues; and integration with cloud applications.

Top 5 Enterprise Mobility Management Solutions

There are several EMM vendors in the market today. Some have just basic BYOD security functionality while others are limited to mobile application management (MAM). The five vendors listed below offer BYOD and MAM security capabilities as part of a comprehensive EMM security solution.

VMware AirWatch

VMware is well-known for its server virtualization technologies but is also a major player in the EMM space. VMware has been active in EMM since at least  2014, when it acquired Atlanta-based AirWatch for $1.54 VMware Airwatchbillion. AirWatch was founded in 2003, and according to VMware, the EMM software is used today by more than 16,000 organizations around the world.

AirWatch features include:

  • Unified endpoint management
  • End-to-end security
  • Identity management
  • Productivity applications
  • Enterprise integration

VMware bundles AirWatch in five different suites, with the entry-level green starting at $4.33 per device/month and going up to the top-end yellow suite, which provides complete EMM for $9.33 per device/month.

MobileIron

MobileIron was founded in 2007 and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol MOBL since 2014. MobileIron offers its EMM platform in three bundles, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with each offering different levels of features.

MobileIronThe EMM Silver bundle includes the Core Central administrative console, Sentry secure enterprise gateway and [email protected] enterprise app store.

EMM Gold adds Email+ secure email, [email protected] secure access control for enterprise content repositories, [email protected] secure web browser, and AppConnect secure app container.

EMM Platinum adds in [email protected] help desk tools, tunnel secure per-app VPN, Monitor for performance, and service connect integration.

Contact the company for pricing.

Citrix XenMobile

Citrix has a long history of providing remote virtual desktop capabilities, but its EMM technologies largely emerged in January 2013 with the $355 million acquisition of MDM vendor Zenprise. The Citrix XenMobile EMM solution is a combination of Zenprise MDM and Citrix’s Cloud Gateway Mobile Application Management (MAM) technologies.Citrix

Among the unique capabilities that XenMobile offers is a feature called Citrix Secure Forms that promises to enable organizations “to create mobile business apps without writing a line of code.”

Leveraging its history, Citrix has also enabled XenMobile with remote desktop capabilities in addition to the common set of EMM features, including secure browser and mobile device management features.

Contact the company for pricing; Citrix also offers versions of XenMobile through its online store.

BlackBerry

BlackBerry (the company formerly known as Research in Motion) was may still be best known for its eponymous smartphone device that predated the iPhone, an image the company is working to change. Today BlackBerry is mostly a software company, with one of the core element being EMM.

BlackberryBlackBerry’s EMM technology was gained through the acquisition of MDM vendor Good Technology for $425 million in November 2015. Good Technology was one of the early pioneers of MDM. While BlackBerry has continued to support the original Good Technology MDM, it has increasingly been pushing customers to move to the expanded BlackBerry EMM platform.

BlackBerry now bundles its EMM platform in a number of different ways to meet specific use-cases, including Management (comprehensive device and app management), Enterprise (fast, secure productivity), Collaboration (rich, easy collaboration), Application (business transformation) and Content (document security and compliance) editions.

IBM MaaS 360

IBM entered the EMM market in 2013 with the $375 million acquisition of Fiberlink Communications and its MaaS360 mobile security platform.

IBMMaaS360 provides a management suite for visibility and control, productivity suites with a trusted workplace, threat management and malware protection, content suite for secure collaboration, and a gateway suite for enterprise access.

A core differentiator for IBM is its cognitive approach, powered by the IBM Watson system. The IBM MaaS360 with Watson capability adds machine learning and artificial intelligence insights to mobile user behavior.

IBM’s list price for MaaS360 starts at $4 per managed device per month.

Best EMM Solutions

Vendor Features Intelligence Pricing
VMware AirWatch Unified endpoint management, end-to-end security, identity management, productivity apps Automated deployment and management 5 levels, from $4.33 to $9.33 per device/month
MobileIron Administrative console, secure gateway, apps, secure email & content access, VPN Policy engine Three levels; pricing not disclosed
Citrix XenMobile Unified endpoint, device, app and content management; secure gateway Business app creation without code Starts at $5/device/month
BlackBerry Device, app, identity and content management Jailbreak detection, compliance, controls for regulated sectors Not disclosed
IBM MaaS360 Visibility and control, productivity suites, threat and ma lware protection, secure collaboration, gateway Watson integration adds Al and machine learning Starts at $4/device/month
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Paul Shread
eSecurityPlanet Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including award-winning articles on endpoint security and virtual data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for Time.com, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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