Cloud computing, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are dramatically enlarging the attack surface of modern organizations. This makes it more difficult than ever before for IT and security leaders to secure their corporate infrastructure.

Often, IT policies can’t keep pace with the rapidly increasing number of devices within an organization. Employees use these devices regardless of policies, increasing the risk of exposure for corporate data and infrastructure. A unified endpoint management (UEM) solution can help enterprises secure and control the entire IT environment and all of its endpoints, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, plus their users, apps, content and data.

Centralizing Device Management and Boosting Productivity With UEM

Using a UEM solution, administrators can centralize the management of complex, widely distributed IT infrastructures. Every aspect of corporate architecture can be easily managed, from the hardware inventory to patch and update management for Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows laptops. Lack of control can be the root cause of almost any security breach, so it is essential to comprehensively monitor IT components and data flaws.

Beyond the devices themselves, modern organizations must also improve end-user productivity. In doing so, they must try to reduce the overall cost of IT management while ensuring data security. A UEM solution both simplifies the management of devices and improves the security of heterogeneous IT environments. It is a better alternative to the disparate point solutions organizations often deploy, which increase costs, spread resources thin and decrease organizational efficiency.

From a cybersecurity perspective, protecting the IT infrastructure is still the most time-consuming and complex activity. A modern UEM solution includes fully integrated support to enforce security and compliance. Using containment technology, IT can protect device data, reduce the risk of data leakage, and keep software current with patching and update capabilities. Organizations can also make the app deployment process more user-friendly and secure using an intuitive unified app catalog with native-like configurations.

New privacy regulations will have a significant impact on the way companies use, share and store data, both internally and externally. As organizations look to rapidly and continuously assess their compliance posture, UEM solutions can help them track data flaws, even in a heterologous environment. With built-in identity and access management (IAM) functionality, UEM solutions can limit enterprise app and resource access to employees who need it to perform their jobs. An efficient UEM must also implement logging, auditing and reporting functionalities, which are essential for compliance.

Augmenting Human Intelligence With a Cognitive UEM Solution

The cognitive approach to UEM represents a natural evolution. According to a Forrester study commissioned by IBM, more than 80 percent of organizations will leverage artificial intelligence or cognitive computing to analyze endpoints by 2020.

“As organizations work toward a more integrated and device-agnostic approach, implementation of UEM will increase,” the report stated. “While just 15 percent have this centralized management approach in place today, 54 percent will have deployed UEM solutions by 2020.”

This augmented intelligence for UEM delivers enhanced data security, maximizes user productivity and increases operational efficiency. The implementation of cognitive technology enables organizations to analyze what has happened in their infrastructure, predict its evolution and adopt necessary correctives.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial of IBM MaaS360 with Watson

more from Artificial Intelligence