As part of the global push for the decentralization of control and resources, businesses are rapidly transitioning towards offering employees greater mobility. This has given rise to many challenges associated with the rapid influx of smarter endpoint devices. To mitigate the risks associated with this trend, businesses adopt standardized sets of practices and tools, collectively known as unified endpoint management.
The size of digital machines, ever since their origin in the mid-twentieth century, has been shrinking continuously. The first digital computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) weighed almost 30 tonnes and occupied areas larger than the average office spaces of today. With the development of microprocessor technology, the size of computing devices began to reduce drastically. And today, smartphones many times more powerful than the ENIAC, yet small enough to fit in the palm of our hands, have become common in the mainstream and easily accessible to the general public. Due to the affinity of the general public and employees towards using mobile technology, businesses are investing in mobility solutions, fostering the ever-growing mobile workforce, which is projected to account for over 43% of the total global workforce by 2023. Thus, it is evident that businesses, in order to thrive in the mobile future, will have to adapt to the trend. And, to keep up with the changing demands dictated by the increased mobility, businesses have been adopting enterprise mobility management practices.
But now, in addition to the increasing number of mobile devices, the emergence of technologies like IoT and cloud computing has led to an influx of more smart endpoint devices. The multiplication of such devices, such as IoT sensors, has necessitated a more comprehensive set of strategies, policies, and tools to manage both handheld and fixed endpoints. And that has culminated in the development of unified endpoint management technology.
The Business World’s Rapid Transition Towards Mobility
A majority of the global population today uses mobile technology. Even computers are becoming smaller with every new generation that is developed. This, combined with the increased connectivity offered by new communication technologies like 5G, is enabling people to access more and more services wherever they go. And businesses, in an attempt to capitalize on the general public's affinity towards mobility, are creating offering more suited to mobile platforms.
And just like their customers, even employees are now seeking the ability to work from anywhere. And employees, in a bid to retain talent, are facilitating mobility for employees. They are enabling workers to use mobile devices to perform business functions by creating applications for employees. Businesses are increasingly focusing on the employee experience, as much as they are on customer experience. This clearly indicates that mobility in the workforce is here to stay. Thus, businesses are not only focusing on giving employees the option to work with mobility and flexibility, but they are also ensuring that any drawbacks associated with mobility are curbed by introducing practices and technologies like enterprise mobility management.
The Growing Need for Mobility Management
Enterprise mobility management has been around for a while in the business world, ever since the emergence of wireless and mobile computing in the late 20th century and early 21st century. Mobile computing has brought along issues like increased variability in the kind of devices used by employees, which has made it difficult for businesses to offer standardized business applications. That’s because, different employees, due to their preferences and financial capacities buy and use different forms of mobile technology and devices. While businesses find it in their best interests to create applications that can run on most common mobile platforms, they cannot create applications that can be run on every platform or every operating system that is used by their employees. If they do create such applications, they, sometimes, are unable to give equal functionality to all such applications or are not able to provide support and updates for applications that run on rarely used platforms. However, as businesses move towards a more mobile future, they must adopt practices that will facilitate mobility for all their employees. One such set of strategies, practices, and technologies is enterprise mobility management.
Enterprise mobility management is already a part of most leading corporations’ initiatives to enable workplace mobility. Enterprise mobility management encompasses the set of practices and technologies that are established and developed for businesses to ensure that their employees can perform their functions using mobile platforms without compromising on security or performance. It also includes policies that govern the way employees can use their mobile devices.
The Rise of Unified Endpoint Management
With the emergence and growth of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses are now required to manage more than just mobile devices that are used by employees. They are required to monitor and manage a host of other devices like IoT endpoints such as sensors and actuators, which are only set to increase in number in the future. And to prepare themselves for a future run on IoT and other mobile technologies, businesses must establish practices and policies that cover the entire range of endpoints that businesses will have to deal with -- mobile devices, computers, IoT sensors and other data collection devices, IoT actuators, and other miscellaneous endpoint devices. And to do so, the concept of unified endpoint management has been developed.
Unified endpoint management is a comprehensive set of technologies, standards, and policies that businesses establish and implement to monitor and manage all their endpoint devices. Since the functions of all endpoints are somewhat similar -- collecting data (input devices, computers, and mobile devices), assessing the target environment (sensors and mobile devices), and making changes to the target environment or processes (actuators and computing devices), these technologies can be classed together for effective management.
The Benefits of Unified Endpoint Management
Following are the benefits of unified endpoint management:
Businesses can have better visibility, i.e., they can monitor the health and performance of all their endpoint devices using a single application with unified endpoint management tools. They can identify endpoints that are functioning as per requirement and the ones that aren’t, to enable the businesses to perform maintenance and make improvements in these areas.
Having a standardized set of procedures and security protocols for the management and operation of endpoint devices enables businesses to have better control over the security of these devices. Having a single dashboard for monitoring and controlling the security of all endpoint devices businesses can implement better risk mitigation strategies.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
Ultimately, having a unified endpoint management system enables employees to have a more worry-free experience with workplace mobility. This not only helps in employee retention but also impacts their performance in a positive way. Thus, businesses must invest in and explore ways of implementing up-to-date unified endpoint management strategies. To do so, they must not only keep up with the trends in unified endpoint management, but also develop their own ways and technologies to enable better management of their network endpoints.