Enterprise Mobility Management: Trends and Challenges for 2021

Enterprise mobility management (EMM) is software aimed at enhancing and protecting the integrity and security of a company's data on its employees' mobile devices. The need for EMM is on the rise, with more companies adopting flexible and distributed workforces, while employees using personal devices in the corporate space have hit 67 percent. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified this shift. Back in 2019, the EMM market was valued at $3.5 billion, and anticipated to grow at 15% CAGR up till 2026.

2021 promises to be a thrilling year for EMM and enterprise mobility in general. The next 12 months present some exciting developments and, of course, challenges.

EMM Trends for 2021

Here are some of the enterprise mobility management gains we are expecting in 2021.

Increased assimilation of IoT into EMM

The Internet of Things (IoT) will gain traction even more in 2021, 75 billion IoT devices are expected to be online by 2025.

EMM stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the profusion of IoT this year. With enterprises expecting a surge in connected devices within their IT ecosystem in 2021, it makes sense for IoT and EMM to be integrated. Such integration ensures that businesses can achieve a more ordered IT environment, with every device connected within a network synced and compliant to that business's security protocols.

We expect more EMM providers to jump on the gains of IoT to introduce high latency resilience and more adjustable network bandwidth.

Penetration of isolation technology

BYOD, thanks to the increasing acceptance of remote work, is here to stay. A recent Fliplet survey revealed that companies gain an additional 240 hours of work annually from adopting BYOD policies. Companies pocket $5,114 for each employee, amounting to six weeks of extra work accrued from each employee.

This massive leap in connected devices within companies could introduce a different security challenge that may not be readily aligned with traditional EMM technologies like mobile application management (MAM), mobile device management (MDM), or mobile identity (MI). 

We anticipate more EMM solutions adopting isolation technology, which buffers users from possible attack vectors (i.e., compromised email attachments or malicious websites) through secure environment execution.

It is not entirely new, but we see a unique isolation adaptation like Menlo Security Isolation Platform taking center stage in 2021.

Holistic EMM experience

In 2021, companies will need to manage an even greater number of devices, including IoT devices, printers, smartphones, laptops, desktops, and wearable devices.

EMM solutions will increasingly venture into UEM (unified endpoint management) and develop capacities to manage, streamline, deploy, and secure the wide array of devices connected to an enterprise's IT environment. Therefore, there is a higher prospect of enhanced integration (from EMM vendors) for devices regardless of the disparities in their performance or operating system. This comes as vendors aim for consistent performance and a unified user interface, so we should also see less disruption in device performance as employees move from one device to another within a company's IT environment.

EMM Challenges

Even with these promising developments, long-standing problems in the EMM space remain, including  security, compliance, and control issues.


Due to enterprise mobility's massively distributed nature, one of the most notorious security threats EMM vendors battle is device loss. A study by Ponemon Institute found that just a single loss of a file can cost a company as much as $250. EMM vendors need to do more to promptly shut off threats from vulnerable endpoints. EMM vendors will continue to struggle to contain this form of human risk in 2021. Consolidation of established protocols for IT professionals to reduce threats associated with distributed data security and multiple employee devices still needs to be implemented.


Compliance in the EMM space is a huge issue. Some employees will still keep exposing corporate systems and data, blatantly flouting security protocols. This could come in the form of downloading malicious apps onto employee devices or using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection, introducing threats to your system and potentially risking steep fines under laws like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act for exposing consumer data.

Limited Access Control

To combat the intrinsic risk exposure associated with BYOD culture, companies are regulating access to their internal networks. This means better tracking and, in some cases, establishing restrictions to keep networks safer, even implementing "zero trust" control measures to limit access to the most sensitive applications and data. Many of these restrictions are aimed at sustaining data integrity and location optimization. Many EMM vendors have adopted a policy where access to company data is limited to specific geographical locations. Such restrictions, however, can potentially affect employee efficiency and productivity.

Despite the challenges, EMM vendors are well positioned for the increasingly distributed corporate environment. The task for vendors will be to execute efficiently and effectively to maintain that market advantage.