Companies across the globe are adopting remote work, and part of that has involved instituting company-owned and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. As a result, a surprising number of organizations are turning to Android devices.
While it may seem like Apple dominates the personal device space, Android is the #1 mobile OS, making up roughly 71% of global market share. Because employees are more likely to be familiar with an Android interface, it makes sense for companies to stick with Android.
But there’s another key factor in this decision: Android is well suited to enterprise mobility management (EMM). To win the workforce market share, Google has created an Android Enterprise suite that permits IT admins to securely manage their fleet of devices — whether employee or company-owned.
In this post, we define Android EMM, differentiate it from Android MDM, and explain how Android EMM can offer improved security and flexibility.
What Is Android EMM?
Android EMM enables organizations to distribute and manage Android devices and apps for employees to use in their daily work.
IT and security professionals can use Android Enterprise — a series of prebuilt APIs and developer tools — to integrate Android with their enterprise mobility management solutions. Support for Android EMM involves connecting Android devices to an EMM console, then installing the Android Device Policy app and setting up Managed Google Play.
Most of the backend work for Android EMM is proper EMM configuration. That’s because the Android Device Policy app pulls management policies from your EMM and automatically applies it to every device.
Managed Google Play then applies app management capabilities that IT admins set, such as web app publishing, private app publishing, app organization, and public app search. With all this in place, users will only be able to install organization-approved apps.
What Is Android EMM Used for?
Android EMM is primarily used to manage BYOD devices, company-owned devices, and dedicated devices. Let’s explore these in more detail:
- BYOD devices – With the rise of remote work, more and more organizations are adopting BYOD policies. Android EMM authorizes employees to use their own Android devices as they normally would for personal use while applying company policies and security settings to keep work-related apps and data safe. When implemented appropriately, organizations have full control over apps and data in the device’s work profile without insight into the device’s personal profile.
- Company-owned devices – Many companies own and distribute their own Android devices to employees. Android EMM works the same way on these devices, too, controlling the apps, data, and settings in work profiles while personal profiles are kept separate for employee use. However, unlike a BYOD implementation, organizations can enforce device-wide policies, prohibiting the use of certain apps, restricting Wi-Fi, and blocking USB file transfers — even on personal profiles.
- Dedicated devices – Some organizations use Android devices for a very specific purpose. Android EMM can help IT ensure that devices are only used for their intended purpose as a kiosk, in-the-field tablet, or even signage.
Simple and Secure Onboarding
Android EMM helps IT create a seamless, remote device onboarding experience using zero-touch enrollment or EMM tokens.
Enrollment Option #1 (Zero-Touch)
IT professionals can use Android Enterprise to install Android zero touch provisioning (ZTP), which enrolls devices in MDM upon activation. ZTP is beneficial because it saves IT teams time and effort when deploying Android devices in bulk.
Enrollment Option #2 (EMM Token)
IT teams may decide to use EMM tokens when provisioning Android devices for employee use using third party tools. This method is recommended for devices running Android 6.0 or later. Admins install the MDM of choice on the device (if it’s not installed already), enroll the device, and then assign users from the MDM console. One advantage to EMM token enrollment is that IT admins can provision devices that don’t support near-field communication as “Device Owner.”
Android’s policies allow admins to integrate new settings with their EMM console and associate specific policies to specific devices. So, once a device is enrolled in Android EMM, admins can use Android’s Policies features to automatically impose maintenance windows for updates, set minimum password requirements, install new apps remotely, and more.
Manage Corporate Apps
Android EMM empowers IT and security teams to manage app access on any enrolled device. For example, IT may want to disable notifications, camera features, and location mode for a device solely intended for signage.
Data and Device Security
EMM helps IT teams improve their security posture by preconfiguring devices with phishing and malware protection, enabling remote password resets, monitoring critical security functions, and wiping data from stolen devices.
What’s the Difference Between Android EMM and Android MDM?
Android EMM and Android MDM are similar, but there is one key difference: EMM manages the entire Android device, whereas MDM manages specific Android device features. Android EMM offers a comprehensive approach to device management, overseeing usage, security, network integration, and compliance — not just certain apps or settings. Because Android EMM stores device data and controls device behavior from the cloud, devices can be protected wherever and however they are used.
Complete Cross-Platform MDM Solution with JumpCloud
Remote work is likely here to stay, and many companies are embracing distinct bring your own device (BYOD) and corporate-owned device (COD) policies. But monitoring those devices to ensure compliance and minimize the chances of data theft and cyberattacks is crucial. Centralizing identity, access, and device management capabilities is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
JumpCloud’s cross-platform MDM solution makes it easy for admins to use their IT infrastructure of choice to control laptops, mobile phones, and desktops from a single platform, regardless of device OS. Admins can preconfigure apps, securing company data and resources before employees even access a device. And employees never have to worry about sharing their personal data with their employer.
Ready to drastically limit potential security risks of BYOD and COD?