By Shivesh Vishwanathan, Product Marketing, Accelerite
Mobile phones have grown in prominence as productivity devices, and enterprises are increasingly using them to execute various business functions. In the early stages of mobility adoption, some enterprises have experimented with separate systems to manage mobile devices. However, this has proved to be untenable. IT departments are increasingly realizing that there are many benefits to having a unified way to manage all endpoints, such as: holistic visibility and integrated reporting, lower licensing and infrastructure costs, sharing of resources and people, better policy management, and improved policy compliance.
While there are dozens, or even hundreds, of legitimate parameters for evaluating endpoint management solutions (including mobility management solutions) there are a key set of principles that are non-negotiables in this fast-evolving landscape.
As you evaluate tools that provide management of your endpoints — however narrowly they are defined — consider these four core aspects as most critical to base your decisions on:
1. The real power of unification is in its comprehensiveness. Endpoint management needs to be grounded in fundamental principles of support for varied endpoint platforms that fit your organization today and many years to come. Unified management that restricts to only “all mobile operating systems” or “all modern PCs and mobile devices” that some solutions espouse falls short. As you evaluate tools based on their depth of functionality within a narrowly defined space, don’t forget to look at the vendor’s capability and realistic intent to support a breadth of capabilities across a varied set of endpoint platforms — including mobile, traditional computing devices, and even custom devices.
2. Endpoint operations should scale and be robust. The product needs to be able to scale to your organization’s needs around the total number of endpoints, geographical distribution of offices, and remote working of endpoints. Beyond the total number of endpoints or their geographical distribution, the tool also needs to have the right architecture to support multiple levels of configurations, deep customizations, and the flexibility to adapt to your environment. Put together, these parameters will determine the robustness of your deployment, and ensure that you have a mature implementation that fits your needs.
3. Don’t overlook future-proofing and durability. For the solution to be able to adapt to your evolving requirements, it should have an extensible architecture that enables the ability to expand support for newer types of devices, the ability to grow in scope of capabilities, integration with newer content sources and technologies as they evolve, support for standards, extensibility through integrations and scripting, customizability, etc. As you evaluate solutions, ensure that durability of implementation is not compromised for the current or immediate-term needs of your organization.
4. Automation is necessary for maximum compliance. With the explosion in number and variety of endpoint devices, compliance concerns have been complex and harder to fulfill. Your endpoint management tool needs to provide capabilities, such as having the right integrations for patch and security-related content, being on top of vulnerability detection, reporting and management, and endpoint self-healing. Automation — more precisely, desired state automation — around these capabilities should be a critical concern that can mean the difference between a smooth running operation that just works, and an operation that is ridden with manual interventions that suck up management and administrative bandwidth.
Your unified endpoint management strategy should be both aspirational and grounded in the present. When successfully implemented, a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution will help you unify your operations, deliver comprehensive visibility, provide robust scale and scope of operations, ensure compliance with minimal administrative overheads, and be future-proof and durable — evolving with your needs.