Endpoint management is an essential component of IT operations. While solutions have been on the market for a long time, there are new criteria to consider when assessing your current strategy towards improved efficiency.
- An increasingly mobile workforce
Field technicians and sales staff are not the only ones requiring remote access. With the rise of millennials in the workplace, there has been a shift to more telecommuting. Employees expect to be able to work from anywhere, at any time of day, with little or no disruption. This directly affects how IT manages the many devices that support employee engagement and productivity in two important ways:
- Endpoint management needs to holistically cover the different types of endpoints (laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets)
- Devices should be accessible for management outside the boundaries of the corporate network, without requiring a VPN connection
- An environment beyond Microsoft® Windows®
While Windows still accounts for the majority of the operating systems powering laptops, desktops, and remote office servers, the rise of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has increased adoption of a whole new range of software. An effective endpoint management solution should comprehensively support Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux devices, whether physical or virtual.
With more bad actors exploiting software vulnerabilities that run on endpoints, it is also necessary to ensure the ability to manage patches from all major software vendors (Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Apple, IBM and so on).
- The need for compliance and flexibility
Creating standard endpoint environments to push out to all employees can mean lower costs, tighter security and smoother operations. But most organizations will want to give employees flexibility in the way they use their devices.
Endpoint management solutions need to be able to flexibly provision devices, and to efficiently push changes to keep the level of the base configuration standard. They also need the ability to report on non-compliance, whether to internal policies, or to industry regulations, with an option to automatically bring devices back into compliance.
- The desire to invest wisely
Not investing in endpoint management can result in unforeseen negative consequences, and expensive and complex tools are prevalent on the market. But there are ways to optimize your investment to maximize return.
This starts with deploying a minimum number of endpoint management tools – ideally just one – to limit technology spread, streamline maintenance, and reduce training needed for IT staff. Organizations should also consider a SaaS-based solution to limit capital expenditure, ensure the solution is always up to date, and free up internal IT resources.
Select a solution that will seamlessly integrate with technology already in place (enterprise directory, email, databases, CMDB, etc.) and has few pre-requisites for network and system configurations.
- A choice that benefits everyone
Usage of the endpoint management solution should not be restricted to desktop engineering or desktop administrators but include other IT personnel, including the service desk agents.
Ideally, they would each leverage endpoint management via the tools that they use most of the time (incident management, license management, monitoring) either via an out-of-the-box connector or an API for custom integrations. Even end-users themselves could be exposed a subset of the functionality to be able to self-serve, such as through an enterprise app store.