Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) systems
What is UEM?
In this age of IT, different devices are used throughout organizations for performing day-to-day tasks. These devices become endpoints of an organization’s network and managing them becomes a challenging task. This is because of their heterogeneous nature in terms of device type (laptops, desk computers, smartphones etc.) and operating systems (MacOS, Windows, Android etc.). Furthermore, it poses security risks as well since devices are not always issued by the parent company and may be owned by the employee.
In light of the aforementioned situation, organizations are shifting towards Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) systems. UEM can be defined as a centralized management tool which allows to monitor and interact with all the endpoints in the network from a single interface.
How does an UEM work?
UEM software comprises of different components which can be used to define its working. While the list of these components is ever-growing, some of them are considered essential for any good UEM tool.
Here are the most important core components of an UEM:
- Device Management – Considered as the main component of UEM, device management involves making use of protocols which can be used to communicate with endpoint devices remotely. These protocols normally operate over the internet and make it possible to configure devices for security and administrative purposes.
- OS Management – It is important to ensure that the UEM can deal with the different OS used by the endpoints. This means that protocols which can communicate with iOS, MacOS, Android, Windows and any other OS present within the network are needed for an effective UEM. With different kinds of devices such as smartwatches and other wearables also becoming parts of the endpoint networks, UEMs need to cater to them as well in order to fulfill their core function.
- Device Enrollment – Whenever any new device is added to the endpoints, enrollment can be challenging using the manual labor-intensive approach. However, with the integration of cloud services within the UEM, the device would be automatically configured with the protocols of the UEM once it connects with the network for the first time.
- Privacy – The fact that many device endpoints are owned by the employee under the BYOD policy makes it challenging to ensure organizational security without interfering with employee privacy. UEM makes it possible to apply company policies to certain apps and data so that the rest of the employee’s device remains unaffected from any restrictions.
- Access Management – For the protection of the overall organization network, it is important to make sure that no unauthorized device can access company apps and data. UEM makes sure of it by issuing certificates to enrolled devices. Access to the system is only provided if the identity of the user can be verified and the issued certificate can be authenticated.
- Security – Making sure that all endpoints have the same security protocols in place can be a time-consuming task. UEM has the necessary components available which makes sure that protection from threats like malware, ransomware and phishing is in place across all endpoints. As a result, the security of the entire endpoint network becomes robust.
Why do companies need an UEM?
UEM can provide the cutting edge to any organization in terms of its competitiveness in the market. This is because it offers massive benefits which can revolutionize the operations of the organization. Some of them are:
- A centralized solution makes the management of endpoints easier. Without UEM, integration across different platforms would need to be managed which requires greater expertise. Similarly, reporting for evaluation purposes becomes challenging too. Both issues can be addressed by deploying an UEM.
- An UEM makes it easier to roll out changes and updates across the organizational ecosystem. This reduces the delays due to the downtime encountered during the transitional phase. The changes are usually implemented simultaneously on all endpoints which means that there is little to no lag in terms of employee access to the latest resources.
- Keeping track of any possible illegal activity which may compromise the security of the organization is a serious concern. With UEM, this becomes relatively easier since activities across all endpoints can be monitored at the same time. It can also help in identifying any collaboration between employees for activities like data theft and corporate espionage.
- The full length and breadth of the organizational device network is often difficult to observe from a fragmented viewpoint. A UEM resolves this issue which makes it possible to identify both weaknesses and opportunities within the system. As a result, continuous evolution and refinement of the system comes more naturally for the organization.
- In many cases it is difficult to transfer the corporate vision from top management to front end employees. This creates a gap between the desired method of conducting business and actual method of conducting business. In terms of IT practices, UEM can bridge this gap and ensure that employees and top management are on the same page.
What are the leading UEM Management tools?
There are different companies that act as UEM vendors. This includes some of the biggest and well-known names in tech circles which offer various practical features to their target audience. Some of them are:
- Microsoft – A tech giant and one of the leaders in UEM, Microsoft has combined its existing platforms to form Microsoft Endpoint Manger which is able to leverage the userbase of Windows and other Microsoft services.
- VMware – Another leading name and a billion-dollar company, VMware operates under the name of Workspace One and has been investing in Windows management as well.
- IBM – Rounding off the trio of the UEM leaders, IBM offers its UEM services under MaaS360. It is an attractive package as it can leverage other related services present in the IBM portfolio.
- Blackberry – Considered as an important challenger in the UEM industry, it has been making waves by acquiring different companies which strengthens its UEM offering.
- Citrix – A niche player that mostly operates in desktop virtualization but is expanding towards UEM as well.
- MobileIron – Considered as visionary among UEM vendors, it focuses on offering pure-play UEM services.
An overview of UEM has been provided which includes a basic introduction of the concept along with its core features. Furthermore, the benefits of UEM and the leading UEM vendors are covered as well to round off the discussion. This can be a great starting point for anyone looking to research UEM and potentially make a case for its implementation in their organization.