Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) is a set of highly integrated tools providing all you need in order to administer and secure all the devices used throughout your enterprise. That includes the ability to manage mobile devices like tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as applications, user credentials and security access all from one single place. As a result, it is a valuable tool for enterprises that are trying to maintain better control of their data and their assets without the need to rely on human resources. What’s more, there isn’t any need to worry about updating or upgrading the EMS platform since all of the tools in the suite are cloud-based. This article will provide you with a general overview of the components of EMS as well as the services it provides.
Identification is streamlined through EMS, as you can integrate thousands of apps into one single set of credentials. Just like Outlook allows you to use it without the need to log in with your credentials each time you start it, that same thing can happen with thousands of third-party apps. That’s because EMS allows for a strategy called Single Sign-on, which allows you to use common applications like Salesforce and Workday without having to remember another password to log in.
On the other hand, when admins need to prevent access from a mobile app, doing it with EMS is a seamless process that only takes a few clicks, as opposed to without EMS when it can take a significant amount of an admin’s time. Another way EMS saves time in regard to identification features is how it funnels certain self-service tasks from admin to the employees using the apps. This minor maintenance would have taken up valuable and costly admin time otherwise.
As mentioned before, thousands of apps can be integrated with Enterprise Mobility Suite, across an also large number of vendors. This integration allows for certain apps to be automatically deployed if they pass a minimum set of requirements set by the enterprise. One such integrated app is the user’s desktop. EMS allows for virtualization of the desktop that allows users to use the virtual desktop in case there are availability or compatibility issues.
Through EMS, administrators can easily manage every single device, from smartphones to desktops, all from one single console. Furthermore, it easily integrates Android, iOS and Windows – specifically Windows 10 devices that can benefit from even deeper integration. Considering the fact that enterprises allow both BYOD and corporate-provided devices, EMS is an optimal solution. Even on different mobile device platforms, employees are able to gain a richer, more consistent user experience with EMS.
As far as managing all those BYOD devices in enterprises that allow it, all of that is made easier by making users accept the security policies that allow for the removal of any of the enterprise’s intellectual property when the enterprise sees fit. Corporate-owned devices can also be ‘pre-joined’ and have those policies automatically accepted as well. Having users accept those important security policies is key in protecting valuable corporate data. As an added security step, EMS allows for remote device wipes that allow an administrator to entirely erase devices in case they are lost or stolen.
The Relationship Between BYOD and the Mobile Enterprise Market
Allowing employees to bring their own devices to work and access your wi-fi is becoming not only common but also expected. Allowing BYOD at your organization boosts employee morale and also leads to more profits. In fact, according to TechJury, a BYOD employee works more, not less, and generates over £250 of additional value each year. The following statistics illustrate not only the value of BYOD in the workplace, but also the importance of protecting the data on those devices with something like Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite:
- Thirty-six per cent of companies allow at least half of their staff to use their personal smartphone for work purposes. (Source: Syntonic.) That makes them more productive and accessible, but again reinforces the need for robust mobile security policies. It also helps to have the ability to remotely monitor any data being accessed by the user of the device in case it ends up in the wrong hands. That’s where EMS comes into play.
- Specifically, in the United Kingdom, BYOD occurred in 60 per cent of UK finance and insurance companies in 2018, whether allowed or not. (Source: Statista.) This is quite interesting considering the fact when looking at the average across all UK businesses, only 45 per cent had BYOD present. This difference highlights the importance of taking the time to consider whether BYOD is needed in the type of enterprise and what there is to gain from it. For example, an area like finance or insurance could benefit more than other types of organisations that don’t need constant communication between employees and clients.
- Employees access over five mobile business apps per day on average. (Source: Syntonic.) It is impressive if you consider it from a dedication standpoint. Those five apps are all somehow related to your organisation, going home with the employee by their own choice. It isn’t just employees using these business apps either, as more than half of organisations provide apps to at least one other party in their extended enterprise of business partners, hourly workers and contracted employees.
- A BYOD employee works an average of two extra hours each day. (Source: ITProPortal) In addition, these employees send 20 more emails per day, and about 30 per cent of employees check their emails before their traditional office hours even start.
- The top three reasons that organisations implement BYOD are all employee-related benefits. Those benefits are improved mobility (61 per cent), greater employee satisfaction (56 per cent) and increased productivity (55 per cent). (Source: Crowd Research.) While reduced costs are also important to employers, only 47 per cent consider it to be one of the most important advantages of BYOD programs.
- Employee satisfaction is increased when they have a choice of where they want to work. In turn, productivity can also be increased by BYOD. In fact, 69 per cent of Millennials believe regular office attendance is even unnecessary. (Source: Cloudbusiness). Considering the fact that this age group will represent half of the workforce in 2020, their opinion counts. What’s more, they not only want to be able to work remotely, but 74 per cent of them also want flexible work hours.
- Remote employees who spend between 60 – 80 per cent of their time outside of the office make more progress during their workday. (Source: Gallup) And 37 per cent of the workforce would even leave their employer for another, if the new employer had the same position available but with the option to work remotely part of the time.
- Almost half of all employees use their devices by their own choice. Nobody asked them to. Their dedication is impressive, but a problem arises when they haven’t received any formal instructions as to the rules surrounding BYOD. (Source: Trustlook) While these employees may be proud of their technical literacy, they may also be posing security risks without realising it. BYOD policies and procedures are necessary and should be revisited on a regular basis. For further security, there should also be some sort of mobile device management (MDM), which is a combination of apps, corporate policies and certificates that together make it easy to manage end-user devices.
- The MDM market is expected to reach $7.96 billion by 2023. (Source: Businesswire). That is about the same pace that BYOD is expected to grow. The compound annual growth rate of MDM is predicted to hit about 23 per cent.
- Seventy-two per cent of companies cite the risk of data loss or theft as a top security concern for BYOD. (Source: Crowd Research) In addition, 56 per cent of companies worry about unauthorized access to company data, and 54 per cent of them are worried that employees will download unsafe apps or content.
- In order to deal with such security threats, 56 per cent of BOYD companies use a combination of remote wiping and MDM. (Source: Bitglass). Fifty per cent use device encryption, and 46 per cent use antivirus or anti-malware apps. A troubling 9 per cent of organisations either don’t know how to protect themselves or don’t even care to.
As you can see, BYOD is here to stay. And the quicker any security gaps are sealed, the better you’ll be seen as an organisation that is also trying to keep their employees content and their business secure.
It is important for any enterprise considering Enterprise Mobility Suite to understand how security works within it. If you use EMS, you’ll be running your security within the cloud through Azure Active Directory or Cloud Identity. As such, your enterprise is protected from hardware and server failure.
Corporate intellectual property (IP) is a top concern for enterprises, and it is made easier and much faster with EMS. Depending on the needs of your enterprise, EMS can either allow or prevent the emailing, sharing and copying of any files that contain enterprise-owned IP. If it is determined that any IP was shared, the admin can revoke access as needed. Furthermore, if the IP was already sent via email, the file can be made invisible to the receiver and sender of the email. There is also the ability through EMS to natively encrypt data and decrypt it if authorized users need to access the data.
Advanced Threat Detection
One of the strongest security features of Microsoft EMS is Advanced Threat Detection, which helps enterprises identify threats looming in their network by using a clear report with a simple, actionable attack timeline. This is highly important since, according to Microsoft and industry statistics, it takes a minimum of 200 days to detect a targeted attack. In essence, an attacker can have 200 days of access to your IP without being noticed and without you being able to remove their access. That is way too much time considering the massive amount of IP that a cyber-criminal can gather, putting your business in dire jeopardy. With the help of behavioural analyses and usage metrics, EMS can detect suspicious usage patterns. However, one downside is that it takes 30 days of analysing in order to be useful. Still, that’s better than the longer 200 days and allows intrusions to be detected more quickly after that initial 30-day period.
An enterprise could surely purchase each of the components that make up the EMS on a stand-alone basis; but it would cost more. At the time of writing this article, access to the Enterprise Mobility Suite is 50 per cent less per month than it would cost if each of the services was purchased on its own.
Benefits of Combining EMS With Office 365
The combination of EMS and Office 365 provides an ideal platform that helps enterprises in the following ways:
- Increases security
- Controls data usage
- Simplifies IT administration
Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite is an ideal option for both large and small enterprises, especially considering the optimal security level that can be reached. It can also save organisations time and labour costs, as its Advanced Threat Detection does all the work behind the scenes without the need to hire staff to monitor threats.
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