Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) – it starts with the user

Good technology management – the business of managing the hardware and software consumed by an enterprise in a cost efficient and secure way – starts with the user, is proactive, and highly automated. In this first of a series of posts about Unified Endpoint Management (UEM), Anna Kungsdahl (Product Manager for Snow Device Manager) presents Snow’s unique perspective on UEM.

Before the enterprise cloud era, sometime pre-2000, the number of connected devices per person was less than 0.08. While opinion varies, in 2020 that figure is set to reach an average of 6.58 per person, amounting to 50 billion connected devices on the planet. But whatever the actual figure, the trend is clear, devices have become part of the very fabric of society.

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) offers enterprises an integrated way to manage those billions of devices from a cost and risk perspective. Servers, desktops, laptops, virtual machines, smartphones, tablets, and probably robots, IoT devices, and wearables too. In short, any machine helping people at work. At Snow, we believe that endpoint management starts with the user, is proactive, and highly automated. In this post, I aim to explain why.

The ever more diverse and proliferating device park is causing the threat surface to expand. Enterprises are at greater risk to security breaches and technology costs are spiraling due to lack of control. Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) offers a means to gain insight into the entire enterprise infrastructure and provide a way to implement policy-based controls for consumption of hardware and software.

More choices, increased risk

Whatever the industry and irrespective of the job at hand, technology provides a range of options that help workforces to carry out their tasks efficiently and sustainably. Thanks to technological development, medical staff can treat patients in a less intrusive way. Systematic support systems enable IT service-desk personnel to resolve tickets quickly, haptic remote-controlled mining machines have removed the need for people to work in hazardous environments, and smart networking systems provide emergency services with detailed location information, enabling rapid incident control. Device evolution, materials development, sustainable thinking, and networking capabilities, are just some of the factors driving the rate of technology adoption upward.

The flexibility offered by services such as Microsoft Office 365, which are built on top of the device layer, increases user buy-in. Such services are designed for multi-platform delivery, guided by ease-of-use and self-service methodologies. Users can access the same cloud-based service through an app or a web-based application seamlessly from almost any device, with constant access to data.

User choices are based on service first and endpoint second, which is why Snow’s approach to UEM starts with users. We have built Snow Device Manager, one element of Snow’s UEM solution, with the user in mind, designed to work silently in the background without impacting user productivity. Our solutions have been designed with the UEM features you would expect, including capabilities to blacklist/ whitelist applications, remote-wipe devices, silent package deployment, zero-touch enrollment, and a corporate app store. Managing devices is about maintaining the user experience and retaining buy-in to ensure that users remain happy, and crucially don’t attempt to circumvent policy.

Once users accept the underlying technology, proactive processes provide enterprises with the next level of protection to control risks and costs, avoiding reactionary management of events like onboarding/ offboarding employees, audits, lost devices, and security breaches.

An onboarding process can, for example, be set up to extract all the necessary information from a new employee, such as name, address, bank details, and social security number through a secure web-based service. Crucially, however, such a process not only extracts details once, but spawns sub-processes to ensure that devices are ordered and delivered pre-configured with all the necessary applications and settings based on the person’s role and geographic location – ensuring productivity from day one.

The trick is, of course, automation. Snow Automation Platform, another element of Snow’s UEM solution, is a self-service solution that comes packed with capabilities to automate common enterprise functions such as onboarding/ offboarding, enrolling devices, requesting and deployment of software according to policy and license availability, license reharvesting, and spinning up and decommissioning of virtual machines in a cloud environment.

With cooperative users, proactive processes, automation, and a culture of self-service, with Snow, you will gain a homogeneous view of all your assets and endpoints, enabling you to manage them from a cost and risk perspective.

In my next post, I will talk about cost optimization with UEM. In the meantime, why not take a look at Snow Device Manager, or check out our events page for a SnowStorm near you, where you can get a sneak preview of, the soon-to-be-released, Snow Device Manager 6.0.