MDM vs MAM vs EMM vs UEM: What's the Difference?

MDM vs MAM vs EMM vs UEM: What's the Difference?
March 15, 2023


In today's digital age, where mobile devices have become an integral part of professional lives, managing mobile devices, applications, and data has become crucial for any organization. This is where Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) come into play. Understanding the differences between these solutions is crucial for organizations to choose the right solution that fits their specific needs. This article tries to untangle the alphabet soup of MDM, MAM, EMM, and UEM solutions.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

The first mobile devices introduced in the workplace were company-owned, and later the consumerization of mobile technology led to the modern-day phenomenon of BYOD (bring your own device). MDM helps IT admins manage and secure popular device types and operating systems, including Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. MDM tools give IT staff total control over how a mobile device functions.

IT admins can provision, enroll, and encrypt devices, configure and control Wi-Fi settings, install and manage apps, track the location of devices, and lock and wipe a device if lost or stolen. By deploying policies, organizations can manage and enforce compliance with regulatory standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, and other data privacy regulations. 

Mobile Application Management (MAM)

Instead of managing the entire mobile device, MAM solutions focus on app management. With MAM, IT admins control corporate apps and the data they access. MAM applies policies and controls to applications, including the ability to whitelist or blacklist applications, provide bulk distribution of apps, and make them available for download via an Enterprise App Store. 

MAM can also control private apps developed in-house. It can isolate such apps from other business and personal applications and protect them through mobile application security. Some of MAM’s functionality is similar to MDM. For instance, IT can remotely wipe an entire app but not the whole device. 

Endpoint Mobility Management (EMM)

With the growing popularity of apps, new ways to collaborate, and the need for any-time, anywhere access to enterprise resources, organizations shifted focus from device management and control to maximizing employee productivity while ensuring data security. 

EMM is a comprehensive solution to secure an organization's data on employee mobile devices. It includes many components to keep an organization’s intellectual property and personal identifiable information (PII) safe and secure. In addition to MDM and MAM, EMM comprises many other components such as mobile content management (MCM) and mobile identity management (MIM).

MCM is responsible for managing content on mobile devices. IT admins use MCM to apply rules and policies to access documents and other content resources from devices. These rules can be granular to protect content at a file level. Organizations can set up document catalogs to ensure the right content is available to the right users.

MIM is concerned with identity and access management to ensure that only authorized users and trusted devices can access corporate resources. Services managed by MIM include app coding, single sign-on (SSO), certificate management, and authentication.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)

UEM is the process of monitoring, managing, managing, and securing endpoints—desktops and laptops, smartphones, tablets, and wearables—from a single console. It is an evolution and combination of MDM, EMM, and traditional client management tools. For example, Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager combined its Intune MDM/MAM platform with Configuration Manager (formerly System Center Configuration Manager).

Most business organizations have different types of devices running on different operating systems (Windows 10, macOS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, and Linux) with varying degrees of compliance. UEM works across multiple platforms and eases the migration from legacy platforms to new versions (e.g., migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10). UEM brings devices under control for patching, malware protection, device-level security, app-level security, and user security.  

IT departments also face difficulties in adopting different endpoint solutions such as MDM, endpoint protection, and access management to manage, monitor, and secure endpoints legacy systems on these devices, resulting in higher costs. UEM helps reduce the cost of ownership of separate endpoint management tools. Automation of processes and tasks also helps reduce overhead costs and hardware expenses.

As the number of devices continues to grow, employees come and go, and the security demands keep soaring, UEM is currently the most efficient method of securing all endpoints, their users, apps, content, and various mobile-use cases.

How to Choose a Mobility Management Solution?

MDM, EMM, and UEM are the different stages of the mobility management evolution and address the data security and privacy issues of using different endpoints at work. It may be overwhelming to understand the difference initially, but asking more questions can help one gain insight. Here are a few questions to consider before considering a mobility management solution:

  • Is the business device neutral to support multi-device user experiences (smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops, Macs, wearables, and IoT devices)?
  • What is the size of the organization and the number of endpoints to be managed?
  • What are the priority features required to manage employee use cases?
  • Does the organization need to track the location of corporate devices in real time?
  • What is the best deployment model for the business: cloud-based or on-premise?
  • Does the company support BYOD or corporate devices only?
  • Do end users need tech support to deploy endpoints?

Wrapping Up

Today, workplaces are no longer defined by four walls but exist where employees want. Organizations need to empower employees to be their productive best with mobility solutions that deliver a secure environment despite device heterogeneity. With a clear understanding of IT challenges and business needs, organizations can identify the correct mobility management solution.