A business deliberates several solutions when it wants to increase employee productivity. One of the methods they practice is permitting employees to use endpoint devices to access the application and sensitive data. The device usage flexibility is currently surrounded by the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) structure. Employees have the freedom to bring their own devices, access business network, and, if permitted, get unfettered access to critical data.

Now with the influx of devices, business IT teams have their work cut out. They have to manage all desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and virtualized desktops on a data center or cloud, and wearable devices (IoT and smartwatches). The number of devices, when multiplied with the number of employees, is overwhelming even if the businesses have hugely invested in the resources for IT teams.

The IT teams depend upon a single management interface that allows them to view the complete status of each device and apply configuration updates accordingly. Even when the device is stolen, lost, or damaged, the pertinent question is how should the data be protected and retrieved from the device. This mostly determines the foundational features to build on the existing solution. 

The first step to manage mobility devices was the implementation of Mobile Device Management (MDM), which was explicitly used for device management. On the other hand, when certain businesses wanted more internal control (application-based), there was an emergence of Mobile Application Management (MAM). Both solutions were clunky. Moreover, when IT teams demanded something more unified, we found Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM). EMM is nothing more than a combination of MDM and MAM solutions equipped with secured containers to keep the complete data secure.

EMM was sufficient for businesses, but the evolution of devices hadn’t stopped at mobile devices. The management of wearable devices and IoT required something more and better. Inevitably, we saw the progression of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)—a single extensive solution to manage all devices, data, and application security. It was the next best solution for the management of endpoint devices.

According to a Tech Pro Research, BYOD is used by 59% of the organizations, and another 13% are planning to use it in the near future. When it comes to wearable technology, 12% of businesses are planning to use it, 12% are in the midst of implementing it, and 23% will be administering the solution in the next 12 months. IoT is another challenge. Over 16% of businesses have already employed IoT devices, and 35% of the businesses are planning to implement them.

UEM solutions provide IT admins with a centralized console that can effectively manage diverse endpoint devices deployed across the enterprise. Effective UEM solutions can cater to diverse categories, which include mobile devices, operating systems, and deployment models comprising both on-premise and cloud.   

Here is a list of capabilities that come with every UEM:

1. UEM as a tool

Business operations occur at the endpoint; every process, collaboration, and customer interaction requires the use of endpoints—either devices or applications. The increasingly connected world depends on each of the endpoints that align with specific use cases ranging from niche to enterprise-specific.

Using UEM, IT admins are equipped to handle different device inclusion models such as Choose-Your-Own-Device (CYOD), Corporate-Owned, Business Only (COBO), Corporate-Owned Personally-Enabled (COPE), and BYOD.

2. Security

Protecting the IT infrastructure is still the most time consuming and complicated activity. Modern UEM solutions include fully integrated support to enforce security and compliance. Using containment technology, IT can protect the device data from breaches and control. It also secures applications and device updates, along with the regular patches. UEM brings app deployment on a single dashboard where users and IT admins have control over the device.

Privacy regulations set both by the organization and regulatory bodies have a significant impact on how data is shared and assessed.

UEM can assist IT admins in tracking data flaws even in a heterogeneous environment. With the Identity Access Management (IAM) functionality, an organization can track, access, and identify devices based on access to data. Securing each device using a business network or private network is crucial, and UEM is just the tool for that.

3. Automation

AI and cognitive computing can assist organizations in making improvements when it comes to detecting and tackling threats. AI brings the ability to identify and analyze threats in real-time, build efficient security protocol, recognize patterns in data security that signify threats, and suggest, or automate corrective measures for the threats. Automation technologies can support businesses to efficiently analyze endpoint or structure data to find patterns and make connections much faster than human analysts. Threat detection and analysis for such a heterogeneous set of devices can be a challenge, but automation will steadily accelerate the detection and usage process.

Forrester recently conducted a research named Mobile Vision 2020, wherein 54% of the respondents stated that AI is critical for endpoint management, and 46% agreed on its criticality for endpoint security.

4. Improves productivity

Adopting mobility devices is never an option. Businesses need to be open and embrace the challenge, which is why they need a unified management solution for devices and applications. UEM reduces the number of systems that are licensed or sought each year. In addition, UEM will replace multiple existing management solutions for on-premise or even offline security equipment. UEM brings improved management to increase admin productivity and saves time, which, in consequence, enhances and improves data security, in case the devices are lost.

Trials and challenges

1. Cost
UEM platforms levy implementation and ongoing renewal costs. Technologically every solution comes with a price—the cost of buying application and investing in resources to make synchronized it. A thorough analysis of the cost and management helps deduce the best solution basis the size of the organization or the number of devices.

Most organizations deploy separate solutions for device and application management to implement business policies and adhere to compliances. Replacing the MAM, MDM, or EMM with new solutions will require administrative costs that could potentially disrupt the end-user experience and business processes. Whether the implementation cost of UEM is comparable to EMM or other systems’ management platforms will greatly depend on the platform vendors. 

2. Time
Implementation of UEM and bringing the business up to speed on its use is a more complicated problem that needs to be tackled. There is no organization currently that has excessive time on hand for the implementation. And will the new distraction positively affect the business is the big question. Migrating to any new technology is a challenge; and with UEM, businesses might have to trade with time.

Finishing up

UEM is an enterprise solution that shapes management for various endpoint devices and control over applications. Businesses need to define their immediate business goals, considering operational requirements and the growth path they plan to follow to introduce new devices in the network. The present state and the future path of operational requirements will determine whether UEM is a solution for your business or not.

For more information, you can download our latest whitepapers on Mobility.