Emmen is a municipality located in the northeastern Netherlands. It is a planned city, meaning that it did not evolve gradually but was purposefully designed around the farming and peat harvesting communities in the region. Since World War II, the municipality has grown rapidly to include more than 100,000 inhabitants and several surrounding suburbs, making it one of the largest municipalities in the Netherlands.
Emmen has been a MobileIron customer since 2012 when the platform was chosen to support the migration to iPads and iPhones. With the help of MobileIron technology partner Dahvo, the municipality has gradually expanded its MobileIron implementation to help advance employee productivity with secure mobile devices and apps.
Keeping government running in an era of rapid technology change
To help government services run more efficiently and to enable a secure, remote workforce, Emmen wanted to deploy a variety of mobile productivity apps and eventually migrate to Office 365 — all while meeting General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements. After evaluating the top enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, Emmen determined that MobileIron was the best choice to to support their ongoing mobile security initiatives.
“Keeping government services accessible, relevant, and secure means we have to keep up with evolving technology and changing regulations,” said André Dekker, Senior Engineer Client Experience at the municipality of Emmen. “Employees want to use the latest devices and productivity apps like Skype so they can share content and collaborate more efficiently. But we also have to enable this strategically and securely. For example, we have to comply with GDPR, manage devices remotely, wipe them in case of loss or theft, and enforce mobile security measures such as password policies — all without unnecessarily disrupting employee tasks. For us, MobileIron is the only solution that supports all of our business and security goals,” he said.
Secure mobility drives government productivity
By expanding the MobileIron deployment, the municipality is now able to securely deploy several new mobile apps through MobileIron Apps@Work. Some of these apps include:
iBabs: Emmen’s City Council use the iBabs app to coordinate paperless meetings. iBabs enables employees to securely share meeting notes and agendas before and after meetings, which helps improve communications and save time by eliminating needless paperwork. iBabs is deployed through the MobileIron app store and runs through the MobileIron AppConnect container to ensure all Emmen data is secure.
“We are pleased with how quickly iBabs has been adopted by our mobile users. They love it because it helps them manage meetings in a much simpler way. Plus we know that their notes and other data are secure on the device because the app is protected by AppConnect,” said Dekker.
PowerMobiel: Emmen deploys the PowerMobiel government app to help streamline case management, licensing, and inspections across the region. It provides access to current files and assignments and helps case workers easily enter data, access online databases, print documentation, and upload photos to a case file. PowerMobiel also uses GIS to automatically identify the location and notify the case manager of other issues in the area. The case manager can then follow up on the issue, which not only solves problems faster, it saves time and resources. Emmen deploys PowerMobiel through Apps@Work and secures it with MobileIron Tunnel, a multi-OS app VPN. Tunnel provides secure access to resources behind the firewall so mobile employees can quickly access the apps and content they need without jumping through multiple security hurdles to get there.
MY-LEX Overheid: This app enables mobile users to search for files in their own databases, information systems, and websites. It can enforce role-based access to ensure only authorized users can access certain resources. It also allows IT to maintain detailed access logs to help identify the source of a data leak or breach. Like PowerMobiel, MY-LEX is secured by Tunnel to provide easy, secure app VPN access on any network.
ISEC7: This mobile app supports multiple mailboxes on an Apple device — a capability that was specifically requested by the mayor, who needed a second mailbox on his mobile device. With ISEC7, mobile users can also share files with multiple recipients, such as athletics facility managers. ISEC7 runs through the AppConnect container to securely maintain data on the device.
In addition to providing secure business apps, every device is configured with MobileIron Web@Work, which allows users to securely access intranet resources such as internal contact lists.
Looking ahead: Bridging the gap between mobile devices and desktops
By securing mobile devices and apps with MobileIron, the municipality of Emmen has improved employee productivity and IT efficiency across the organization. Not only can mobile users access secure data and apps wherever they work, they can quickly enroll, update, and troubleshoot their devices, which has resulted in far fewer help desk calls. iOS users can enroll their devices through the Apple Device Enrollment Program (DEP), which has been a great success. For instance, thanks to the highly intuitive design of MobileIron and DEP, Emmen was able to move all of its Blackberry users to iOS in just 14 days.
Looking ahead, Emmen has taken the initial steps to test the MobileIron Access cloud security solution in their environment. The goal is to ensure users have seamless and secure access to cloud apps and services such as Office 365 through the MobileIron platform. Emmen also wants to secure the organization’s Windows 10 desktops using MobileIron Bridge, which allows organizations to manage workstations with the same strong security and over-the-air management capabilities they use for mobile devices. The IT department is currently writing scripts for Bridge to enable email, security and encryption policies, and a virtual desktop client. In the second phase the organization plans to push apps to devices.
“For IT, it is an ongoing challenge to not just know where your data is and whether it’s secure, we also have to anticipate changing compliance requirements and constant updates from big providers such as Microsoft, which can happen at any time. By partnering with MobileIron and Dahvo, we can focus more on our long-term vision because they take care of providing the innovative solutions that help us stay on top of the latest technology and regulatory changes,” said Dekker.