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    The UEM Journey: From Device Management to Security Essential

    Today’s workplaces are a mere shadow of what they looked like 10-15 years ago. That has transpired into the evolution of business needs and functions. One such function is IT, where the personnel roles have evolved drastically. CIO, CSO, CISO, etc., are critical C-suite positions for organizations. From a device management perspective, the entire IT function has transformed completely. Device management is no longer about on-prem desktops (mostly Windows). 

    Security is a high priority for modern workplaces across industries. The exponential rise in the use of mobile devices (both personal and corporate) and other endpoints for work means that security is now well and truly beyond office premises. 

    The UEM Journey
    The Journey of UEM

    This blog focuses on how device management has undergone a rapid transformation from a simple IT task to what it is currently. We will highlight the elements of a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution that testify to its journey from a management tool to a security strategy. 

    Early Days of Device Management

    Initially, device management was primarily focused on basic tasks such as software installation and hardware inventory. Simple tools were used to help IT administrators perform routine maintenance and manage setups across organizations. The arrival of mobile device management (MDM) marked a pivotal development, with businesses starting to adopt mobile devices like smartphones and tablets en masse.

    Transition to Mobile Device Management (MDM) & Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)

    With the surge in mobile device usage, MDM solutions became crucial. They allowed IT departments to enforce corporate policies and ensure the security of the data contained on these devices. As technology continued to evolve and business needs grew more complex, the limitations of MDM became apparent. This led to the development of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), which offered a more holistic approach. 

    EMM managed mobile devices and addressed the management of mobile applications and content. EMM solutions started to offer features like conditional access, where user access to corporate resources was based on compliance with corporate policies.

    Advent of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)

    As enterprise IT environments have grown increasingly complex with the introduction of diverse device types and operating systems, a need emerged for a more holistic approach to endpoint management. This need led to the advent of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), a solution designed to simplify the management of a broad spectrum of devices from a single console. UEM integrates and extends the capabilities of previous IT management solutions like Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), offering a consolidated platform that enhances operational efficiency and security across an organization’s entire digital estate.

    Evolution from MDM and EMM to UEM

    The shift from MDM to EMM was a significant step toward addressing the broader needs of mobile workforce management, focusing on applications, content, and devices. However, as enterprises continued to incorporate more varied technologies, including IoT devices, wearables, and traditional desktops, into their operational framework, the limitations of EMM became evident. UEM emerged as a strategic response designed to manage and secure all endpoints through a unified framework.

    Key Security Features of UEM

    UEM platforms incorporate a range of features that simplify the complex task of managing diverse devices within an enterprise. Let’s examine some of the features related to security. 

    Comprehensive Device Management: UEM provides ways to configure, manage, and monitor all types of enterprise endpoints, including mobile devices, PCs, and IoT devices. It begins with secure enrollment until a device or endpoint retires and terminates with a secure wipe of corporate data. The remote lock and wipe feature also becomes extremely useful in case of device loss or theft

    Application Management: UEM facilitates the deployment and management of applications across all devices, ensuring they are securely delivered and updated in accordance with company policies. Regular updates eliminate app security vulnerabilities while offering employees the latest UI/UX and functionalities. 

    Content Management: UEM solutions often include secure and remote content management options, allowing employees to access corporate data safely from any registered device. It enhances collaboration without compromising security.

    Security Management: Advanced security features incorporated via UEM platforms help protect against device, network, and application threats. This includes managing encryption settings, VPN configurations, and OS security patches.

    Policy and Compliance Enforcement: UEM solutions allow for creating and enforcing policies that all devices must comply with, such as password requirements and software updates. Compliance checks ensure that devices adhere to internal standards and external regulations.

    Impact of UEM on Enterprise IT

    Implementing UEM has a transformative impact on enterprise IT operations. It reduces the complexity and labor associated with managing multiple types of devices through separate consoles, thereby decreasing operational costs and IT workload. 

    Moreover, UEM enhances the organization’s security posture by providing comprehensive control and management capabilities that address the varied threats associated with different types of devices.

    Key Differentiators for UEM

    The functionalities offered by MDM solutions are foundational but limited in scope compared to UEM solutions. MDM primarily focuses on managing user devices through the implementation of policies and compliance regulations.

    UEM builds upon the traditional functionalities of MDM and EMM by incorporating a variety of unique features. This holistic approach empowers IT and security leaders to achieve a more effective balance between fostering user productivity and ensuring robust corporate security.

    UEM solutions encompass a comprehensive range of capabilities, including:

    • Mobile Device Management (MDM)
    • Mobile Application Management (MAM)
    • Mobile Content Management (MCM)
    • Mobile Threat Detection/Response (MTD/MTR)
    • BYOD Containerization

    The above diverse set of features equips IT and security leaders with the necessary tools to manage and secure all endpoints within an organization effectively.

    Future Directions

    The future of UEM is expected to be influenced by two primary emerging trends:

    AI and Machine Learning: These technologies are being integrated into UEM solutions to predict potential security threats and automate complex management tasks.

    5G Technology: As 5G becomes more widespread, UEM solutions will need to manage an even greater volume of devices and storage, making efficiency and scalability key focal points.

    Embrace the Power of Scalefusion UEM for Iron-clad Security

    A weak security posture can leave businesses prey to rising online threats. For IT and security teams to safeguard devices and endpoints and the data they contain, a UEM solution like Scalefusion is a must.

    Don’t be a sitting duck for threat actors. Contact our experts now to explore how Scalefusion can fortify your security posture. Sign up for a 14-day free trial.

    Abhinandan Ghosh
    Abhinandan Ghosh
    Abhinandan is a Senior Content Editor at Scalefusion who is an enthusiast of all things tech and loves culinary and musical expeditions. With more than a decade of experience, he believes in delivering consummate, insightful content to readers.

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