By Anand Iyer, Assistant Vice President & Global Delivery Head – Microsoft Business Applications & Modern Workplace, Infosys
Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) refers to solutions that help businesses manage multiple endpoints. The ‘endpoints’ in this case are devices being used by a company’s employees and partners. These include not just laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones but also wearables, VR glasses, etc.
UEM is the latest stage of evolution in device management, which itself is being practiced for several decades now. The earliest form of device management came when businesses started assigning laptops to their employees, followed by mobile phones (remember BlackBerry?). Mobile Device Management (MDM) meant you could work from anywhere, but it came with a caveat: you needed to carry your company-assigned device with you everywhere.
Over time, as people began to use their personal devices to carry out work-related tasks, the scope of device management continued to grow before it evolved into UEM that we see today. UEM combines the various capabilities of its predecessors and creates a unified set of tools and policies for both off-site and on-site device management and security. It also covers different operating systems – from Windows and iOS to Android, Linux and beyond – and its tools include or interact with security software and other endpoint solutions.
From good-to-have to must-have
While UEM existed way before the pandemic, COVID-19 hastened its adoption. As work from home (WFH) became the norm and evolved into hybrid work, UEM, with security as its integral part, became a necessity than a luxury.
This was particularly crucial for sectors such as BFSI where it is important to have a device which secures the apps and data both. UEM’s foundation of Zero Trust Security also significantly helped in its adoption.
As hybrid and remote work models are becoming increasingly commonplace, thanks to the flexibility they offer the employees and benefits they offer businesses, adopting a UEM system has become imperative. Such a move doesn’t just ensure security but also an enhanced compliance and user experience in a hybrid work environment.
According to a market research report, the global unified endpoint management market was valued at nearly $3.4 billion. By 2030, this is projected to grow to $5.36 billion. This growth will be fuelled by stricter compliance regulation, the ever-increasing levels of cyber threats, and swift growth of IT footprints in organisations. Even as small- and medium-sized enterprises will drive demand, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, VMware Workplace One, Apple MDM, Casper Suite, Google Enterprise, Ivanti, and IBM MaaS36 will drive the adoption.
Emerging trends in UEM
Let’s look at some of the upcoming changes in UEM that will impact businesses:
Artificial Intelligence will soon drive security, monitoring, and identity management to the extent that Gartner predicts UEM to converge into autonomous endpoint management. According to Gartner, automation will reduce human effort by at least 40 per cent in UEM.
Zero Trust Security will be the cornerstone of UEM
As access points to company servers increase thanks to hybrid work, businesses will see the wisdom to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-increasing threat environment. In such an environment Zero Trust Security will be critical to success.
Cloud adoption has permeated across all aspects of the business and more enterprises will seek solutions that can be delivered over cloud instead of on-prem. Cloud-based mobility management systems will be able to more efficiently manage both modern operating systems as well as legacy devices at all end points via a single platform.
IoT will challenge security parameters
Today, devices accessing company servers have gone beyond the traditional ones such as laptops, mobiles, and tablets. The pandemic has expanded the scope of corporate assets to include non-traditional devices such as VR glasses or even televisions. UEM is crucial to ensure the security of these devices without compromising user experience thus making it indispensable for endpoint security.
Even as the world is still experimenting with hybrid work culture, and businesses debate whether to return to office, some version of hybrid work will continue to stay for the foreseeable future. That, combined with fears of economic recession, has put CIOs in a tough spot. The above-mentioned trends are expected to help CIOs find ways to optimise resources without compromising security and user experience.