Steering the Modern Workplace with UEM

Modern hybrid workplaces

Diverse work environments

Device diversity in the workplace is here to stay. So are the intertwined work models: remote, onsite, and an ambiguous mix of both, the hybrid. Then there’s also the type of adoption specified for each device, i.e., whether dispatched by the enterprise or personally owned. These particulars are then followed up by the crucial mechanics of corporate governance, privacy rights, and security best practices that come into play. 

On the whole, the post-pandemic landscape has propelled us into a vibrantly heterogeneous work sphere that is hard to define. Much less administered.

It is therefore crucial to implement an efficient Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution to maintain sanity and overall functionality for both your day and the enterprise, respectively.

In this blog, we will cover the bare essentials of the following:

  • Diverse devices with their usage types operating in different work models
  • Operational challenges when managing devices across work models
  • How a good UEM solution addresses IT admin shivers
  • Getting ready for Autonomous Endpoint Management (AEM) – the future of UEM

Using scores of  devices at work: Endpoint diversity

An average office today is likely to have a fair number of different device types ranging from personal smartphones, wearables, company-owned desktops, company and/or personal laptops, tablets, VR/AR/XR accessories to the more infrequent Internet of Things (IoT) devices. 

Essentially, each device will be running on a different operating system such as  Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, macOS, etc. 

By and large, the terms of operational engagement of these devices are likely to fall into one of the following categories:

  1. BYOD – Bring Your Own Device
  2. COPE – Company-Owned Personally Enabled
  3. COBO – Company-Owned Business Only
  4. CYOD – Choose Your Own Device

The table below shows how these types compare in terms of ownership, control, and security.

Consequently, some real-world examples of the above complexity depicting the use of device assortments across different industrial sectors will help sum this up for us. 

Device usage in different industries

  • Healthcare: Primarily onsite, doctors and nurses in hospitals often use iPads for patient records and Android smartphones for communication. They also rely on desktops running Windows for administrative tasks.
  • Retail: Distributed onsite retail stores use tablets and kiosks running Android or Windows for point-of-sale (POS) systems, inventory management, and customer self-service.
  • Transportation: Airports and train stations utilize kiosks for ticketing, check-in, and information services. Devices in kiosk mode are dedicated only for the intended purpose.
  • Tech Companies: Software developers at tech companies usually work in a hybrid model, using high-performance laptops running various operating systems at home and in the office.
  • Education: Universities and schools have adopted remote learning models, where students and teachers use a mix of personal and school-provided devices to access online classes and educational resources.
  • Field Services: Handling large fleets of devices, field service companies equip their technicians with tablets or smartphones to access job details, client information, and service manuals on the go.
  • Banks and Financial Services: Employees in financial institutions use secure desktops running Windows for trading and financial analysis, while executives may use tablets for mobility and quick access to data during meetings. These devices must comply with the security regulations of the institution.

Accordingly, device administration and management call for different approaches in the above cases.

Effective device management across different work models: The challenges

The persistent challenges of administering a device and its interactions with an enterprise’s network in all of the above scenarios boil down to:

  • Integration: Seamless integration of disparate devices and operating systems into the corporate network is complex. Each device type and OS has its own management tools and protocols, making uniform management onerous.
  • Security: Protecting sensitive corporate data across multiple devices and work environments is imperative. The proliferation of devices increases the attack surface, making it harder to enforce consistent security policies and detect vulnerabilities.
  • Compliance: Adhering to regulatory requirements and industry standards is crucial, ensuring compliance across different jurisdictions and industries. 
  • User experience: This encompasses the customer POV as well the Digital Employee Experience, coined DEX in recent times. Excessive security measures can hinder productivity, while lax security can expose the enterprise to risks.
  • Infrastructure hurdles: The cumbersome task of implementing and maintaining the required infrastructure ensuring sufficient network bandwidth, server capacity, and compatibility with various device types and operating systems.
  • Scalability: Managing the increasing number of devices and the growing complexity of device management as organizations expand, ensuring that the management solutions can scale to accommodate growth without compromising performance or security.

Conversely, a reliable UEM solution will demonstrate a comprehensive undertaking of all of the above. 

Reigning supremacy over the endpoints: Full-fledged UEM solutions

While effectively addressing the administration challenges highlighted above, a competent UEM solution will provision for a holistic approach to managing the plethora of corporate devices, users, and data that includes:

  • Comprehensive Endpoint Management Compatibility – support for all devices on multiple platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome OS, Linux, etc.) for configuring, controlling, and monitoring.
  • Centralized monitoring and management: Monitor, manage, secure, and troubleshoot all endpoints across geographical boundaries via a single console.
  • Device, data, app and network security: Policy enforcements, device lock, enterprise-wipe, conditional access, allowing/denying app installing, and similar restriction policies allowing appropriate administrative control.
  • Identity and access management: Secure, convenient, and robust user authentication and access management integration capabilities.
  • Data Containerization: Enables BYOD devices to have distinct personal and corporate profiles. Secures restricted data by separating enterprise data from personal data while coexisting on the same device.
  • Remote monitoring and administration: Zero-touch enrollment, device-tracking, remote troubleshooting, push notifications, etc., that facilitate remote device administration.
  • Analytics and reporting: Advanced data insights with visual interpretations in dashboards for quick monitoring and intuitive analysis of device health and other essential metrics.
  • Integration capabilities: Seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure as well with directory services like Active Directory and LDAP, enabling centralized user authentication and access management across all endpoints for consistent user permissions. 

That’s not all! A future-ready endpoint management solution of the day will also flaunt the potential for utilitarian IT automation capabilities, as we shall touch on below.

Autonomous Endpoint Management (AEM): The future of UEM

With machine learning integration’s powerful advent, device management has also elevated to new levels. As a result, forthcoming UEM solutions will feature advanced capabilities leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for predictive analytics, automated threat detection and mitigation, and intelligent device management.

We are now entering the next phase of UEM with Autonomous Endpoint Management (AEM), aimed at enhancing efficiency by reducing the need for manual intervention and enabling devices to self-manage routine tasks. 

As technology evolves, future-ready UEM platforms will incorporate flexible and scalable integration capabilities to seamlessly transition into AEM. Combining the most effective utilitarian features from UEM and DEX tools with AI and ML, the future of endpoint management sure looks exciting in the light of emerging AEM solutions.

Discover the full potential of what a UEM solution can help you accomplish with Entgra UEM

Related reading:
Making Hybrid Environments Work: How Enterprises Can Use Device Management.