The more of your employees who work remotely some or all of the time, the more devices they’re likely to use to conduct business. Employees use their own devices as well as corporate ones, making already-challenged cybersecurity systems more complex. In response, IT teams need to rethink their approach to endpoint management.
Changes in endpoint management, therefore, have increased the need for a unified approach to management and security solutions. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions are key. They help businesses and agencies navigate management, security and connectivity issues. Security becomes the highest priority for the UEM platform.
There are multiple UEM solutions in today’s market. As with anything introduced into your network, you want to make sure you adopt the solution that makes the most sense for your needs. Here are the top nine factors to consider when looking for a UEM solution.
Endpoint and Application Management
Your UEM platform should provide a seamless user experience across laptops and desktops, mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and wearables and the IoT universe. UEM solutions should work across all operating systems used within the business. Beware of vendors that focus on only one. The platform should support both iOS and Android devices, which is even more important if you encourage bring-your-own-device. Onboarding personal devices easily is another factor to keep in mind for your UEM.
Advanced Reporting and Analytics
Managing data from hundreds of endpoints is a huge task. The more connected devices used, the greater the data flow. Your UEM solution needs to have solid reporting and analytics tools to keep up with all that data. Consider advanced reporting and analytic features like artificial intelligence-powered data analysis, risk identification, streamlined end-user experiences and policy and compliance alerts. These help keep up with changing government and industry rules.
How the UEM handles security is the main factor. Protecting data on endpoint devices should be top of mind. Security challenges that your solution will have to address include:
- Conditional access
- Single sign-on
- Multi-factor authentication
- Manage and remediate malware
- Advanced threat management
- Monitor security health
- Identify insights
- Enforce compliance
- Device containment, i.e. splitting work and play on personal devices or protecting productive workspaces.
AI-enhanced UEM solutions offer protection for devices, apps and software, users and data. The UEM solution you consider should have data encryption on mobile and IoT endpoints as a fixed offering, and should also have controls on app and software installations. Finally, vendors should be able to back up any of their security offerings. Your company’s assets are wrapped up in these diverse endpoints, after all. Your UEM has to prove it can offer the level of protection you need and have policies in place if cyber incidents occur.
One of the most difficult challenges in onboarding any new technology is connecting it with your current platforms. Integration is a factor with UEM, as well. The UEM solution you choose should offer a seamless connection with the third-party tech and legacy systems your employees already use. Those can include help-desk systems, management databases and security tools. The UEM should enhance, not hinder, your other software and apps.
Successful organizations grow. Growth means you’ll be adding more endpoint devices to your network. You’ll want a scalable UEM solution, one that can easily increase (or decrease) as needed. Is the UEM a Software-as-a-Service solution that offers easy deployment when new endpoints are added?
One of the benefits of deploying a UEM solution is being able to manage all endpoints, no matter where they are. This is very important as users work remotely and rely on many different devices, both their own and corporate-owned. Remote support for your UEM solution is a must. The UEM solution should offer remote troubleshooting for a disparate workforce. This will limit downtime for the user and ensure security and operability continue no matter where the endpoint device is located.
Product Maturity and Roadmap
Each endpoint has a distinct life cycle, but with so many endpoints, it is difficult to monitor the maturity stage of each device. The right UEM solution will help build a roadmap to monitor whether the product is mature.
Support for Purpose-Built Devices
Your company may use purpose-built devices for mission-critical tasks. These devices often fall under the category of rugged IoT devices that are used outside of a typical office environment. They’re things like ruggedized tablets and smartphones, handheld scanners and kiosks. These devices often run on a different operating system than the typical office devices. Therefore, they require different management and security features. If you use any type of purpose-built device, you need a UEM designed to cover these endpoints.
Budgets for new technologies are tight, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses. For many organizations, the price will be the key factor in choosing a UEM solution. But decision-makers will want to take a deeper look inside the initial price. UEM vendors should be transparent about their pricing setup. For example, is the pricing per user or per device? How do licensing costs work? What is the fee structure like when adding new devices or users, and what happens when you decrease those numbers? Any conversation about pricing should cover all of your concerns so there are no surprises as your organization’s needs change.
Make Endpoint Management Easier
Your IT and security teams have enough on their plate without having to worry about endpoint management for remote, hybrid and in-house users. The right UEM solution will handle the management and security of every device on your network.
Learn more about IBM’s UEM solution and MaaS360 with Watson and schedule a consultation and free trial.