Enterprise Mobility Suite: what it is and how you can control it
There’s a parallel between running a country and running a company’s IT infrastructure. Just as a government needs an interior ministry to govern internal affairs, a transport department to manage how citizens get around, education to train the next generations and national police to maintain security, IT departments are also necessary to ensure a company stays on its feet. Without a central body governing the different functions and needs of a country, things would quickly fall into disarray. It’s vital to have a central body with an overview of these various elements which ensures they all run together smoothly.
Once upon a time, managing IT infrastructure was a relatively straightforward process. You simply needed to provide users with a password to their desktop computers and ensure they didn’t physically remove data on, say, a floppy disk. But things have changed rapidly in the last ten to twenty years, and the challenges facing anyone hoping to manage and control their company’s data have grown exponentially. IT departments are now dealing with a whole range of security and governance challenges known collectively as Shadow IT.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) means users access company data from smartphones and tablets.
- Data sharing applications mean company property gets sent and stored through third party tools.
- Staff use their own devices to store company data, meaning no one else can access it.
- More opportunities for company data to get hacked or shared illicitly.
None of this is to say that mobile IT is a bad thing – in fact I think it’s great. Rather, we just need to respond to the challenges more effectively. So, if managing IT infrastructure is a little like running a country, how can CTOs start governing efficiently again?
Enterprise Mobility Suite – central governance
Since Satya Nadella took to the helm of the business, Microsoft have been emphasising the ‘mobile first, cloud first’ approach. They recognise that mobile technology has revolutionised the way employees interact with company systems and are aware of the need for a radical new approach to the challenges this poses. ‘Mobile first, cloud first’ taps into this evolution and the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) is the company’s all encompassing, cloud based control centre for company devices and apps. Where before companies often had a mish-mash of security and mobile management systems, the EMS provides a central command point from which all of a company’s systems can be governed.
EMS covers a broad range of interrelated data protection and security tools. Instead, it’s a catch all term for Microsoft’s broad approach to helping you protect your data. It’s in this way that it’s a little like a government – it doesn’t just focus on national security, but also on a range of interrelated activities which go towards ensuring the country will survive in the short and long term.
1. Identity and Access Management
Since humans invented door keys, we’ve been looking for more and more complex ways of ensuring individuals have the right to access certain places. Microsoft’s Identity and Access Management tools control the way users sign into company data from their own devices. If users have downloaded the company’s app onto their phone, it’s obviously crucial that only they use it – and ensure that data is protected if the phone falls into the wrong hands.
Identity and access management provides a single sign in for users and has a range of protections to ensure only the right people can use apps when using the employee’s device. Importantly, when you use EMS, the whole service is automated and self-serviced, this saving your IT department a lot of time when configuring personal devices.
2. Device Management
With EMS you can manage all the devices enrolled into your company’s environment from one central console. This gives you an overview of where they are, what they’re doing and how they’re using data. It also gives you the power to wipe device data in worst case scenarios. Device Management also lets you push new security features, company apps and information to colleagues’ devices in a smooth, joined up way, therefore ensuring everyone is ‘on the same page’.
3. Desktop Virtualization
Another important aspect of the EMS is Desktop Virtualization. Using the cloud, Microsoft let users access their office desktop from anywhere, whatever the device, without ever downloading company information to their own hardware.
4. Security and Encryption
With all that data moving between your company’s systems and third party devices, it’s vital that it is secure in transit. The EMS provides some of the most secure data encryption on the market and gives you peace of mind.
In a way, a tool like EMS was inevitable. Companies increasingly need to manage their information as data gets more and more mobile, and Microsoft have listened to their customers. There are of course risks with mobile enterprise IT, but there have always been risks – even when everything was done on paper. EMS gives you the confidence that you have control over and can govern your data with the highest degree of security.
In my second post on EMS I’ll be looking in more detail at the practical uses of this tool, and how it can transform your business.
CEO and Founder
Tim is the CEO of Content and Code and founded the company in 2001. As CEO of Content and Code, Tim focuses on corporate strategy, client and partner relationships, and has overall responsibility for driving the growth of the company. Tim founded Content and Code so he could help transform organisations to be more responsive, more competitive and engage their employees to better realise business goals.