Unified Endpoint Management overview
UEM is a comparatively new term that refers to a practice of doing end-to-end management, providing all-inclusive security to every end-user device of a business unit/group, and performing real-time monitoring. Generally, the concept application involves software or apps. One can use a wide range of cloud-based UEM tools to manage end users.
As far as its scope is concerned, appliances like laptops, smartphones, IoT tools, wearable solutions, tablets, table-mounted desktops, and printers are part of UEM.
However, it’s not limited to them. Based on the businesses and their existing IT infrastructure/setup, advanced data-driven devices such as robotics machines are also parts. Basically, it aims to bring all the end-user devices together so that managing them becomes easiest for admins.
At the functionality level, UEM is a merger of conventional management solutions used for mobile appliances as well as applications. It covers end-user devices deployed remotely or on-premise. It’s one of the most preferred approaches in the BYOD program.
History Of The Evolution Of The UEM
As mentioned above, UEM is a relatively new concept and has become popular during the outbreak of COVID-19. When the pandemic started, organizations were forced to shut down their on-premise operations and have to shift to WFH or Work-From-Home work style. In this working style, employees connect their personal devices and networks to the business network, which is not as secure as it should be.
Hence, dire security concerns raised their heads, and organizations had a tough time controlling them. In this scenario, the Unified Endpoint Manager tool or application allows businesses to gain control of end-user devices even if they are functional remotely. Its evolution spans over the last two decades and moves from MDM to MAM.
In the beginning, mobile appliances (e.g., phones/laptops) were owned by employers and handed over to employees for business purposes. It was the case with laptops and PCs. Employees need not use the devices they own.
MDM (Mobile Device Mgmt) was the concept that organizations adopted to safeguard work-specific devices. The internal IT team used to take care of encryption on those devices, apply user login restrictions, set the passwords, track locations, control the wireless network, and look into other security aspects. The only control end-users had over such devices was only limited to using them.
With time, mobiles became an everyday utility, and employees started bringing self-owned devices to workplaces and using them for work-related operations. However, they were connected to a secured network at the workplace. Hence, security risks were less, and the administration had a good grasp/control of end-user devices.
As WFH or hybrid work style became mainstream, end users were now utilizing their personal appliances on the home network. This way, organizations have lost control over work-specific devices.
After MDM, the MAM method took over. MAM (Mobile App Mngt) refers to managing the apps that end-users are using for work. The IT team started controlling access and securing the enterprise apps handling corporate data. However, the technique was not offering full-fledged security controls and had certain obvious limitations. Hence, a new device management concept, EMM (Enterprise Mobility Mngt) was introduced.
With EMM, the IT team managed to combine the great data security facility of MDM with the unmatched user experience of MAM. With this, it was easy to tackle smartphone users, off-site PCs, and distantly-located laptops with the same ease and perfection.
While EMM filled the caveats that MDM and MAM created, it was not 100% foolproof. The IT team has to have diverse management strategies for on-site and off-site data-driven devices, which made it too cumbersome.
Finally, we had UEM that fixed all the previous issues and concerns of end-user devices. It’s an advanced technology combining EMM and CMT (Client Mngt Tools). UEM tools are capable of pairing with a broad spectrum of endpoint security solutions such as firewalls, antivirus, UEBA, antimalware, web control software, and many more.
How Does UEM Work? Its Basic Features
The biggest challenge for the IT team is to monitor and provision various endpoints per each professional they hire (and various organizational ones). It includes excessive repeated management that often forces the IT team to miss certain vulnerabilities.
UEM provides a centralized platform for managing all devices and taking care of their security profile. The unified dashboard provides an IT team to manage and view cybersecurity issues related to network, data, and enterprise apps. As UEM works on all the leading OS, there is nothing to worry regarding device compatibility.
As far as its features are concerned, it can take care of a wide range of features such as:
Provisioning devices- UEM tools allow users to automatically provision the devices and control the connection to the network.
- Security policy application - UEM permits admins to deploy MFAs, and complex passwords, apply military-grade encryption, renew passwords, and handle various security considerations of end-user devices.
- Patches/Updates - With UEM, the IT team can easily monitor the presence of vulnerabilities on OS, applications, devices, and software.
- Isolation of data - While using the BYOD approach, it’s important to keep enterprise and personal data separate. UEM allows the IT team to make it happen.
- Securing connection - The effective usage of UEM allows the IT team to protect the network connection that end-users are using.
- Early threat detections - UEM integrates effortlessly with UEBA, EDR, and multiple other security tools. This integration is useful for early detection of any abnormality or vulnerabilities that can further become a matter of concern.
- Handling devices that are Lost or have reached their lifecycle - UEM is an easy way to manage the devices that end-users have lost or have reached their lifecycle. As such devices also feature enterprise data, it’s not wise to leave those devices unprotected. UEM allows IT teams to make sure such devices are also not gaining any kind of unauthorized access.
Benefits Of The UEM
Effective implementation and usage of unified endpoint management tools tend to offer a plethora of benefits to its clients/users. The list includes:
- Improved devices’ safety as the IT team can track the presence of vulnerabilities across the devices from a unified platform.
- Better visibility of the end-user device’s security. The IT team will be able to find out how much data is used, which all vulnerabilities are reaching the end-users, and which all data is at stake. Quick resolution as risks and vulnerabilities across the end devices are managed from a single platform.
- Enhanced user experience as device owners is using one platform to manage the security of all the end-user devices.
- Trimmed overheads as security management if fully automated and are managed by one device. There is no need to invest separately in the prevention of data loss, tracking of endpoints, auditing, and other operations.
Conclusion - The Importance of Endpoint Security
As the point of ingress is increasing, organizations have to make sure that not a single end-user device is unprotected so that bad actors can break into the network or corporate data.
UEM allows enterprises to take the end-user security controls into their hands and avoid the access of intruders to networks, enterprise apps, and data. With this, it’s easy to reduce the risks of DNS hijacking, sniffing, and various other security risks.