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What’s the Difference Between EMM and MDM Anyway?


Solutions Review explores the difference between enterprise mobility management (EMM) and mobile device management (MDM) as outlined by Gartner.

Gartner changed how they refer to enterprise mobility solutions years ago and it has been met with moderate success. The research firm made the executive decision by changing the title of their yearly Magic Quadrant report from Mobile Device Management (MDM) to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). But what is the distinction between EMM and MDM?

It’s been a bit of a strange road since this change occurred and some people in the mobility space still refer to enterprise mobility solutions as MDM. Google searches and traffic proves that this is a trend that’s not going to go away very soon even though the terms have evolved to mean different things.

Mobile Device Management is now considered a part of Enterprise Mobility Management instead of an interchangeable term. While most people searching for a solution are still looking at for an “MDM” solution, vendors have started officially calling their solutions EMM instead of MDM. In our new 2018 Enterprise Mobility Buyer’s Guide, we profile the top EMM solutions for easy comparison, including a description of what the MDM component included in each EMM solution.

If you want to learn more about how you can protect your company’s mobile devices, you should check out our Mobility Management Buyer’s Guide. We profile the top vendors in the mobility management field, list their key capabilities, and note our Bottom Line for each.

However, this does not mean that every enterprise mobility solution is now EMM. It’ like squares and rectangles; every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square. A similar concept can be said about EMM and MDM; every EMM solution is MDM but not every MDM solution is EMM.

So what’s the difference? It’s no longer just about the device. Recent and future advances in enterprise mobility have pointed less towards the actual devices being secured, and more towards the information being secured. This means that information is no longer primarily stored on the device; it’s stored in a remotely accessible server or is a cloud-based solution.

While that’s a broad statement to make because there certainly are still solutions available that are still considered MDM solutions by the newer interpretation of the term, they are being phased out in favor of EMM solutions just for the simplicity and security that a total mobile solution offers.

Most EMM solutions in addition to MDM offer Mobile App Management, Mobile Content Management, App Wrapping, Containerization, and other features. This offers an all-encompassing solution that works to cover every aspect of the device.

This is especially important when we start talking about Virtual Mobile Infrastructure (VMI) and other remote cloud-based concepts. EMM solutions tend to scale better for new hardware and concepts and the features most EMM vendors include in their solution allow for more specific areas of control where you need it.

Gartner has been right about re-naming the standard for enterprise mobility. The term has slowly become more popular over the years, as the definition of EMM has evolved to represent the progress of enterprise mobile technology.

Download Link to MDM Buyer's Guide

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