Snow becomes official Google EMM partner with SDM

Blog Post created by henrik.wiren Employee on Oct 23, 2017

Snow has recently become a Google-approved vendor in the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) sector – here’s the official list. But what does this mean? What have we implemented in Snow Device Manager, and what does it mean for you, our customers?

To put this into perspective, let’s take a look at the transformation that has taken place since the first iPhone hit the shelves just over ten years ago. First generation iPhones, had no third-party applications, no GPS, and no support for video. The App Store, with its initial 500 apps, didn’t come about until eighteen months after the launch of the iconic smartphone. Today, the combined offering of the major app stores amounts to over 6.5 million applications. And the transformation from desktop to mobile has ensured that the major players in enterprise and consumer software deliver mobile versions of their desktop counterparts.

The shift in user behavior to using mobile devices to perform tasks has empowered individuals enormously. However, the ramifications of using mobile devices in the workplace are huge in terms of management, security, flexibility, and ultimately cost. Just as with desktop software, enterprises need to be able to manage use of their mobile applications to ensure compliance, control costs, and secure access to corporate data.

Unfortunately, users want flexibility. They expect to be able to use the software they want, when they need it. Several models, like BYOD and COPE, have arisen to support the use of mobile technology by the modern workforce. The implementation of these models varies from company to company, but in broad strokes, the models in use include:

  • Bring your own device (BYOD) – individuals use their own devices to access private as well as corporate applications and data.
  • Corporate-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) – individuals are issued with devices owned by their employers and can use them as if they were personally owned.
  • Corporate-owned, business only (COBO) – individuals are issued with devices that are locked down to an approved set of applications and functionality.
  • Choose your own device (CYOD) – individuals can choose from a range of approved devices, and can either own it outright, or own it for the duration of employment.

None of these models work.

BYOD fails when it comes to cross-platform compatibility and security. Owned by IT, COPE raises privacy issues. COBO lacks flexibility for most users who often carry several devices to meet their needs, and CYOD is a happy medium, but the security issues remain.

Meet Android for Work (disambiguation) – a Google-led initiative that brings Android and Play together enabling users to work the way they want, using the devices and apps they love, while giving IT admins the security and management features they need.

Through SDM, Snow’s customers can easily manage their own play store, providing employees with access to just those applications they need including proprietary ones, maintaining control over costs, and ensuring that security is upheld. Users get the flexibility to work with the corporate apps they need as well as the personal ones they know and love.

How it works

Android enables part of the mobile device to be partitioned off for corporate use, leaving the rest of the device available for private use – giving users the flexibility to do what they want with the private side, and IT availability to manage the corporate side ensuring that data is accessed securely – and not least, that applications are licensed appropriately.

For example, users who subscribe to DropBox privately and have a DropBox for Business license assigned to them through their employers can run both apps on their mobile device in a compliant and secure manner.

Figure 1 shows how the list of applications appears on a device, with the corporate apps clearly marked with a red briefcase.

The introduction of Google EMM provides seamless integration with Google Play enabling customers to create a corporate app store and avail of volume licensing. Deployment options such as silent app installation, whitelisting, and pre-configured apps are also part of the package.

So, irrespective of the model you choose for device ownership, Android not only meets the flexibility requirements of users, it also upholds the control requirements for enterprises.

When are we releasing this functionality?

The Android for Work Profile solution has been developed for SDM 5.6, which is scheduled for release-to-market (RTM) sometime mid-November, 2017. Watch the Snow Globe for the upcoming release notice.