Mobile: Mobile Device Management (MDM) for the Everbridge Mobile Application (EMA)

Topic:

Mobile Device Management for the Everbridge Mobile Application.

Description:

Mobile Device Management —usually abbreviated MDM— allows mobile devices to be configured and controlled from a central location. Typically, it is used by enterprise-level organizations to impose minimum security standards, provide organization recommended apps, assist users in configuration, and protect company data on both organization-provided and BYOD devices.

The Everbridge Mobile App (EMA) includes support for configuration via MDM systems that support the AppConfig standard. This includes some custom configuration ability for EMA itself as well as functionality provided natively by the MDM systems.

Each MDM system works differently, and details can be found in the documentation of your MDM system. But this document provides some examples of MDM capabilities, as implemented by a sample MDM system (MobileIron Cloud), and lists the configuration settings currently available for EMA.

NOTE: MDM support is an ongoing effort and additional configuration settings will likely become available over time.

Internal App Store Distribution

MDM providers offer an “Internal App Store” mechanism which offers a selection of organization-curated apps that are either automatically or optionally installed on the users’s device. How this is done varies between MDM providers.

On MobileIron Cloud, you access these configurations by:

  1. Select the Apps tab along the MobileIron Cloud top navigation bar.
  2. If necessary, select the App Catalog tab in the sub-navigation bar.
  3. Click the + Add button

At this point, choose from a variety of methods to load the application, using the dropdown menu next to the search box.

App Store

For EMA, select the “App Store” (for the iOS version) and/or Google Play (for the Android version), and type “Everbridge” into the search box. Once it is located, select it, and several screens of prompts will appear. On the final page (“Configure” on the left, “App Configurations” on the top), specify things like:

  • Whether or not to force the app onto the user’s device or let them choose it.
  • Whether to convert unmanaged versions on the app to managed ones.
  • Whether or not data from the app can be backed up to iTunes or iCloud.
  • Application specific configurations (see Set Custom EMA configuration Settings below)
  • Per-App VPN (protected networking).

NOTE: “AppConnect” is a proprietary MobileIron system which extends certain apps with additional MobileIron-specific functionality. EMA is not an “AppConnect” managed app, so the following two AppConnect features will not function:

  • AppConnect custom configurations will not apply. (use the iOS Managed App Configuration option instead)
  • AppTunnel. (use the “Per App VPN” instead).  

Once completed, click Done and the app will be made available to the devices of the users specified. This may take some time; it will not happen at all until networking is available on the device, and application downloads can take considerable time.

Remotely Wipe or Unmanage a Device

Removing a Single App

To remove a single app (such as EMA) from a device, set its distribution to “no one,” or remove the device(s) from the current distribution group.

Return a Device to an Unmanaged State/Remove all Managed Apps

It is also possible to eliminate all management from a device: this will remove all managed applications and data. As usual, the method for this varies between MDM providers, as does the name. Some providers will call this “Unmanage,” others will call it “Retire.”

On MobileIron Cloud, access these configurations by:

  1. Click on the Devices tab along the MobileIron Cloud top navigation bar.
  2. If necessary, click the Devices tab in the sub-navigation bar as well.
  3. Select the check boxes next to the devices desired to "unmanage".
  4. From the Actions drop-down, select Retire.

After retirement, the device will operate as an unmanaged device. Retiring a device can take a few minutes, and the device may or may not reboot to complete the retirement.

Wipe a Device Completely

Optionally, a “wipe” can be performed on a device, deleting all applications and data (including the user’s own, unmanaged apps and data). This returns the device to its factory state. This is typically only done to protect data on a lost or stolen device, for organization-owned devices that will be re-purposed to a new employee, or when a device gets into an “unusable” state for any reason.

On MobileIron Cloud, access these configurations by:

  1. Click on the Devices tab along the MobileIron Cloud top navigation bar.
  2. If necessary, click the Devices tab in the sub-navigation bar as well.
  3. Select the check boxes next to the devices desired to "wipe".
  4. From the Actions drop-down, select Wipe.

Once confirmed, the device(s) will be erased; usually within a minute if it has network coverage. The device does not need to be unlocked for this to happen.

After wiping, the device will be restored to its out-of-the-box state. For devices that are still functional (devices that have not been marked as stolen), they may then be re-configured as with any new device.

Set Custom Everbridge Mobile App (EMA) Configuration Settings

EMA supports sending application-specific configuration settings via the AppConfig standard. How this is done varies between MDM providers; it will typically be located in a “configurations” tab or button associated with the specific app.

On MobileIron Cloud, you access these configurations by:

  1. Click on the Apps tab along the MobileIron Cloud top navigation bar.
  2. If necessary, click the App Catalog tab in the sub-navigation bar.
  3. Click on the Everbridge name (it will list as a hyperlink) in the App Catalog list.
  4. From the Everbridge application summary page, select the App Configurations tab.
  5. Select iOS Managed App Configuration (not AppConnect Custom Configuration)

From this summary page, create, modify, delete, and activate sets of configurations as desired. To create a new one, click the “Add+” button.

Summary Page

Enter a name for the configuration. On the bottom, choose which users will have the configuration applied; select “No One” to try out a configuration without affecting users (then apply it later).

The core of this screen is the configurations themselves. These are combinations of “keys” (the name for a specific setting) and “values” (the values for a specific setting). Specify as many "keys" as desired, but only settings whose “key” and “value” are supported by the application will take effect.  Keys, in particular, must exactly match a setting name, including punctuation and case. That is, “EMA_allowcopy” is not the same as “EMA_AllowCopy”. The specific key/value pairs supported by an application will be documented by the application provider; the supported pairs for EMA are listed below.

EMA Configuration settings

NOTE: This document will be updated as support for EMA configuration settings increases.

All EMA settings begin with EMA_ (“EMA” and an underscore) and must be specified exactly. (i.e. upper/lowercase). Any setting not included in a configuration will have a specified default (unless provided by another configuration sent to the same device).

Once a configuration set is chosen and sent from an MDM provider, the configuration should appear on devices in a short period of time (no more than a few minutes), assuming the devices have network connectivity. Devices in areas without wireless access -- or with that access disabled -- will be configured when they next return to a wireless network.

Most configurations will take effect immediately upon the device receiving them; the application does not need to be closed or relaunched.

The following settings called out in this Knowledge Base Article are only available for iOS:

  • Allow Copy Setting
  • Allow Paste Setting
  • Allow Notification Attachments Setting
The following setting called out in this Knowledge Base Article is available on both iOS and Android:
  • Org Search Term

Allow Copy Setting

Name Values Default
EMA_AllowCopy "true" or "false" true

If set to false, the copy (and cut) command will be disabled in several locations in the application. This prevents the copying of notification message content and will be expanded to disable copying in more locations over the next few versions of EMA. To request a control that should honor this setting, contact Everbridge Technical Support or an Everbridge Account Manager.

Alternatively, setting this value to true will not enable additional copy/paste operations. For privacy reasons, many parts of EMA do not allow copy and/or paste, regardless of the value of this configuration.

This setting is used only on iOS. On Android, use the MDM provider’s built-in policies to disable copy and paste globally.

Allow Paste Setting

Name Values Default
EMA_AllowPaste "true" or "false" true

If set to false, the paste command will be disabled in various locations in the application. To request a control that should honor this setting, contact Everbridge Technical Support or an Everbridge Account Manager.

Alternatively, setting this value to true will not enable additional copy/paste operations. For privacy reasons, many parts of EMA do not allow copy and/or paste, regardless of the value of this configuration.

This setting is used only on iOS. On Android, use your MDM provider’s built-in policies to disable copy and paste globally.

Allow Notification Attachments Setting

Name Values Default
EMA_AllowNotificationAttachments "true" or "false" true

If set to false, notification attachments will not be available to the contact within the received messages list.

Org Search Term

Organization search term can be pre-populated with the expected value through Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems such as Intune, MobileIron, etc. The search term must be configured under the key EMA_Org_Search_String in the App Configuration Policy of the MDM setup. (Released in Aug 2022 https://support.everbridge.com/articles/Release_Notes/59123).

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