Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) : A Beginner’s Guide

  • January 25, 2019

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)

Modern technologies including mobiles, AI, ML and the Internet of Things (IoT) have sailed into modern businesses and are here to stay and evolve. And with so many devices and endpoints to manage, unified endpoint management has become more critical than ever. In this article, let us discuss the nuances of unified endpoint management and its benefits for modern enterprises. Let us start with the basics:

What is an Endpoint?

An endpoint is any device that serves as the endpoint or the last point on any network. The endpoint can be a laptop, a desktop, a mobile phone, a tablet, any mobile device, a server, or even a virtual desktop. Devices such as printers, scanners, projectors, wearables, rugged devices, digital signages and mPoS can also be termed as endpoints.

What is Endpoint Management?

Endpoint management is the system or process to centrally control, provision, support and secure all the endpoints in any enterprise/organization.

What is Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)?

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) is the integrated approach or process to manage, secure and control enterprise-owned and employee-owned mobile devices, desktops, laptops and other endpoints from a single unified platform in a coherent and connected way. UEM is a comprehensive replacement and evolution of the terms- mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM). Unlike MDM or EMM, UEM incorporates the management of all endpoints in an enterprise mobile or stationery.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) enables enterprises with remote management, configuration, tracking, monitoring, and maintenance of different endpoints (mobile and fixed) that are generally capable of connecting to a network and may function using TCP/IP protocol stack.

What are the benefits of Unified Endpoint Management?

With an array of heterogeneous devices invading the modern workplace, the corporate environment today has a wide device footprint. UEM comes in to play for varied requirements such as:

  • Providing seamless remote access for the mobile workforce
  • Managing endpoints with varied device configurations and different operating systems from a single console
  • Centralizing device monitoring and management for boosting productivity
  • Integrating security solutions to protect IT infrastructure – device, device data, software, and applications
  • Controlling threats from malware or unauthorized access from individual wireless or mobile endpoints
  • Managing patch updates and ensure device compliance
    Detecting new or suspicious devices connected to a network

Why Unified Endpoint Management (UEM)?

1. Managing mobile endpoints

There has been an upsurge in the use of diverse mobile devices in the enterprise environment. These mobile devices are endpoints in the enterprise network that belong with heterogeneous OS and hardware types. The BYOD culture has flooded most of the workplaces with mobile devices, which also brings in ownership diversity to the endpoints. MDM or mobile device management is an integral part of Unified Endpoint Management that helps in managing mobile endpoints such as tablets, phones, laptops and rugged devices used for work. MDM helps in configuring and deploying security controls on these mobile endpoints, tracking and monitoring them within the corporate periphery and beyond.

2. Managing other assets and endpoints

All endpoints in your corporate ecosystem are your assets. Endpoint management systems help manage these assets by identifying all the endpoints, gathering information on their hardware configuration, operating services versions, applications running, security systems installed, storage, drivers, ports, etc. to be stored in a central database. This will help your IT admin to easily

  • Maintain, track, and identify legitimate (registered) endpoints in your system.
  • Integrate asset data to deploy various applications or software.
  • Granting secure access to your corporate data, applications, and network and blocking outside endpoints.

3. Deploying Operating System

Remote working, sharp in the incline of the frontline workforce and BYOD has brought forth the need to adopt various software and operating systems in an organization. An effective UEM supports various OS like Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, etc. It also supports the easy deployment of OS to several devices all at once. For example, Preboot Execution Environment helps push OS to a device with minimal involvement of a user and reduces user error significantly.

4. Deploying Applications

Provisioning endpoints with applications centrally is critical for accelerating overall enterprise productivity. Using UEM solutions, enterprise IT can:

  • Support automated application provisioning to deploy applications in bulk.
  • Flexible provisioning helps tag devices according to the departments they belong to or the kind of specialized software they need, to deploy targeted applications on related endpoints.

5. Patch Management:

UEM discovers and monitors machines that need patches. Using UEM, IT teams can:

  • Identify devices at various locations to push the required patches to all machines in a go.
  • Push changes to ensure the base configuration standard for all devices.
  • Manage patches from major software vendors like Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Oracle, etc.

6. Endpoint Troubleshooting:

A UEM solution can seamlessly integrate with corporate technology in a place like databases, email servers, directories, etc. and requires limited prerequisites for network and system configurations. UEM tools typically have an intuitive user interface which reduces staff training time and streamline maintenance.

7. Security and Flexibility:

UEM systems make remote access possible from any place, anytime, and holistically cover different types of endpoints which gives flexibility to the mobile employee.
For endpoint security, UEM:

  • Creates a standard endpoint environment to push out security controls to all devices.
  • Monitors the endpoints to report non-compliance or violation of security policy.
  • In some cases brings endpoints back into compliance.
  • Make devices available outside corporate network boundaries.

An effective Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution can function in a heterogeneous environment, exert controls on varied vulnerabilities, exponentially boost IT productivity, reduce costs in the long run, and simplify the management of devices on a centralized platform. As enterprises are confronting a growing influx of multiple device types across departments and amongst employees, IT admins are facing a constant challenge to manage, secure and monitor all these endpoints at one single place and this is where efficient unified endpoint management can bring in a steady purpose and a flawless process.

About the Author

Vandita is a passionate writer and IT enthusiast. By profession, she is a Computer Lecturer at the University of Delhi and has previously worked as a Software Engineer with Aricent Technologies.

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