/ Digital Workspaces Guide / Chapter 4: Unified Endpoint Management

Endpoint management

The more devices that are used to access a network, the more of a concern security becomes. Endpoint management is the practice of preventing uninvited access to a network by authenticating all devices attempting to join the network.

The massive increase in connected, internet of things (IoT) devices combined with a seismic shift to remote working opportunities has made endpoint management security a top concern for enterprises, companies, and organizations of all sizes.

What is endpoint management?

Endpoint refers to any device that is the physical end of a network. Whether endpoint devices access networks remotely or on premises they require endpoint security solutions.

Endpoint devices include:

  • Endpoint security systems
  • Desktops and workstations
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • POS (point-of-sale) systems
  • Servers

What is endpoint security management?

Endpoint security management is the process of supervising and authenticating the devices that access a network. All endpoint devices must be authenticated, throughout the entire network.

The greater number of devices accessing a network, the more important endpoint security management is to an organization. It’s important to remember that many users have multiple devices that they use to access a network (phones, laptops, tablets, etc.), and all of them need to be authenticated and supervised.

The major types of endpoint management include:

  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR): The continuous monitoring of all files entering an organization’s endpoint devices.
  • Network access control: Determine which devices and users have access to the network and what permissions they are granted.
  • Application control: Decide which permissions are granted to which apps to prevent compromised apps from doing harm.
  • Browser isolation: Run browsing sessions in isolated environments away from sensitive data.
  • URL filtering: Allow access to only trusted websites or dangerous content.
  • Endpoint encryption: Encrypt all data stored on endpoint devices.
  • Sandboxing: Replicate an operating system in an isolated environment to assess a user or device’s intentions before granting network access.
  • Secure email gateways: Use secure email gateways to monitor messages.
  • IoT Security: Provide an extra layer of security to IoT devices which do not always offer endpoint security out of the box.

Why is endpoint security so critical?

Endpoint devices are one of the most vulnerable pieces of a business network. After all, endpoint devices are the way workers connect to the organization’s network to transmit and receive data.

Endpoint management is vital to companies because although most businesses install anti-virus anti-malware software on devices in their office, not many bother doing so on devices that are operated outside of the office.

As more employees are working from home or remotely, more devices present vulnerabilities to a company’s network. Endpoint security solutions must cover a network beyond the office walls.

What is unified endpoint management?

Unified endpoint management is a comprehensive approach to managing all endpoint devices in an organization from one centralized location. Such management includes:

  • Handling all software updates and security patches
  • Managing software licensing
  • Deploying new software and operating systems
  • Logging
  • Tracking software and hardware inventory

Unified endpoint management assures a company that all of its devices are secure and provided with the latest in security. The uniformity of approach assures that all devices used to access a network are managed properly.

Endpoint management tools

Securing endpoints is a vital aspect of cybersecurity, but due to the challenges endpoint management solves, it requires unique tools. Such tools include:

  • Mobile device management: Manages security for mobile devices, including enforcing security policy, tracking equipment, auditing regulatory compliance, remote troubleshooting, and more.
  • Asset management: Ensures security and compliance of IT assets throughout their lifecycle, eliminating unnecessary software and optimizing ROI.
  • Deploying operation system: Automate deployment of and migration to a new operating system and provide ongoing management.
  • Deploying applications: Schedule deployment of apps to endpoint devices and make it available via the internet or intranet.
  • Patch management: Ensures that all endpoint devices are running updated and approved versions of operating systems, software, and applications with appropriate security patches.

Importance of selecting the right type of endpoint management system

The right endpoint management system can streamline IT processes for businesses of all sizes while vastly improving security. It can function by creating a single ecosystem in which various devices can be controlled.

There are several endpoint management systems on the market and companies need to pick the right provider for their needs or the benefits of well-managed endpoint devices will be unattainable.

Best features of endpoint management solutions

Endpoint management solutions are being rapidly adopted in the modern workplace due to an impressive array of features which allow companies to enhance their cybersecurity, improve the user experience for employees, and more efficiently administer IT policy.

A few of the best features of endpoint management solutions include:

  • Unified protection: An endpoint management solution should provide security and management across the platform for all devices to simplify administration and detect threats.
  • Network and cloud protection: In addition to allowing IT administrators to manage and monitor devices when on the network, an endpoint management solution should allow cloud-based monitoring so administrators can monitor remotely.
  • Integrated regulatory compliance: By securing endpoint devices, endpoint management helps businesses in regulated industries protect sensitive data and meet compliance.
  • Risk monitoring and mitigation: Visibility of all endpoint devices enables early threat detection and the shutting down of compromised devices.
  • Real-time response to attacks: Continuous monitoring of endpoint devices and collection of data allows for real-time across the network once a threat is detected. 

What to look for in an endpoint management software

There are clear advantages in both cybersecurity and streamlining of IT processes when endpoint management solutions are adopted. However, companies must choose the right software to realize all such advantages.

Some key elements to look for in an endpoint management provider are:

  • Ease of deployment: A vendor should be supportive during the installation and deployment process and the solution needs the flexibility to meet a company’s needs.
  • Ease of integration - The solutions must seamlessly integrate and interact with all endpoint devices accessing the company network. At the same time, the solution should be able to connect with a wide range of technology, providing hope to integrate with future devices that might be added.
  • Versatility: The software must operate well across all desktop and server operating systems to support and manage a wide variety of devices.
  • Reliable patch management - Timely patches are an essential piece of cybersecurity. Endpoint management providers must be able to automate patch management from a central server, patch devices that are on and off the network, and patch operating systems as well as applications and software.
  • Compliance automation: Endpoint solutions must automate the steps taken to bring devices into compliance. Companies will not have to worry about failing an audit because the platform checks that physical and virtual endpoints meet regulations and updates them if they do not.
  • Device and data security: Endpoint management providers prevent users devices from accessing harmful websites, either intentionally or because of malware that has penetrated the device.
  • Reporting and diagnostics - All the data collected by an endpoint management provider loses a lot of its value if it is not reported well or used properly. A good endpoint management solution is easy for technicians to use. The tool should be easy to navigate, the reports easy to read, and provide actionable steps to take when a device has been compromised.

Conclusion

Remote work, IoT devices, and the sheer number of mobile devices that connect to a company’s network both on- and off-site present a growing cybersecurity concern. It’s important for organizations to be able to effectively address any threats that could attack their network via endpoint devices.

Endpoint management makes it possible for businesses to monitor and authenticate all devices that attempt to access their network and mitigate the risk presented by a constantly growing number of connected devices.

The best endpoint management solutions are easy to use platforms that deliver strong security while also helping companies to maintain regulatory compliance and efficiently deploy security patches, new applications, and new operating systems.

With all of the advantages offered by endpoint management security, taking the appropriate steps to adopt such cybersecurity measures is a must, and a decision that will continue to see rewards as the modern workforce continues to evolve.

FAQs

What is unified endpoint management?

Unified endpoint management is an overarching approach to manage all of an organization’s endpoint devices from one centralized location. Endpoint devices are any devices that are the physical end point of a network, such as laptops, tablets, mobile devices, and virtual desktops.

What is endpoint management software?

Endpoint management software is a program used by IT administrators to ensure that no unapproved devices access a system and that every endpoint device on a network has updated software with security patches to prevent unwanted access.

What is endpoint security management?

Endpoint security management is the process by which businesses and organizations authenticate endpoint devices that attempt to access a network. Endpoint security solutions also include monitoring security policies across the network and managing endpoint devices from a central location.