Endpoint management software is technology that supervises and governs the way that devices connect to the network, including how to ensure endpoints and users achieve secure access to your business environment.
Join us as we break down what endpoint management means, what endpoint management software can offer for your business environment, and the evolution of endpoint management technology over the past few years. Stoked? Us too!
How to define endpoint management
There are two parts of endpoint management – managing all of your devices (or “endpoints”) and securing them from harm.
First, let’s get a grip over what exactly an endpoint is. These will be any device that connects to the network. For example, inside your own environment you’ll manage computers, laptops, cell phones, and perhaps other devices such as Point of Sale systems or printers. From outside the network, devices might also communicate with your network, such as customer devices, or IoT devices.
When we say that endpoint management software is used for managing and securing these endpoints, we need to be a bit clearer. By managing, we mean keeping visibility and control over everything that’s communicating with your network, and by securing – we’re talking about all of the policies, rules and tools you put into place to protect these endpoints and reduce the risk of a cyberattack. While endpoint management software will ensure only authenticated devices connect to the network, endpoint security software will make sure they are secure on connection. Often, these two come hand in hand, or part and parcel of the same technology.
When you utilize robust endpoint management software, you’ll be able to rest assured that only authenticated and authorized devices can connect to your network, and that your cybersecurity defenses are as strong as possible against a potential threat. Use the right choice of software, and your IT teams will also be able to manage and control all of your device activity from a single, centralized dashboard.
Why do endpoints need to be managed in the first place?
It should be pretty self-explanatory why you need to secure endpoints – to protect against data leakage, cyberattacks, and business compromise. However, even without the focus on security – it’s still really important to have a full view of all your endpoints and their behaviors. For example, you could be incurring added costs by having connected devices that are not being utilized correctly, or you might find that employees are breaking corporate BYOD rules. This is especially relevant in our post-COVID world, where remote work has become the norm, heavily impacting endpoint security.
As part of your role enforcing endpoint management, you will probably use your endpoint management software to create policies for items such as:
Device management and support
Think about how to create an SLA that meets your needs and the users, too. If a device goes down – how quickly will you guarantee a fix, and will you provide a replacement in the meantime? You might decide to offer tiered service levels for whether an issue is critical or not. As part of device management, you might take responsibility for patching and updates, configuring WiFi or VPN set up, remote access for troubleshooting, and password management.
Privileged Access Management
Also known as PAM, this is how your organization will control how users and admins access different data and systems. When done right, PAM will allow you to use zero trust principles to limit what an attacker could do with any user’s credentials, so that even if a cyber attack happens, the risk is not overwhelming.
Through a single unified dashboard to manage all endpoints, you’ll be able to augment your asset management strategy. This will be great for staying on top of inventory, as well as forward planning. For example, if you can see that certain devices are more than 5 years old, you might start planning for replacements.
Network administrators will be able to use remote access to push OS or application updates and patches to their endpoints, keeping them highly-performant and secure. Consider whether you want to use bulk actions to update all endpoints at once, or whether you’d like to make exceptions for certain devices or patches.
What are the benefits of a unified endpoint management strategy?
When you’re looking at endpoint management software, additional terms that you might hear in use in the industry are:
- Mobile Device Management (MDM): This is specifically management of mobile devices like phones and tablets.
- Cloud Endpoint Management (CEM): With the growth of cloud services, businesses are increasingly in need of endpoint management and endpoint security that spans a hybrid environment. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is one such example.
- Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM): This is for larger scale enterprises who are working off-premises. For example, a Telecommunications company might have IoT devices around the country, for example connected to a fleet or a utilities business model.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP): You might also find niche security tools that work within the endpoint management category to solve a certain problem. Data Loss Prevention technology specifically aims to shore up your endpoints from data leakage, supporting compliance use cases – for example.
You might also hear the term Unified Endpoint Management, or UEM. This simply means that this software allows for all of your endpoint management to be viewed from a single dashboard, and controlled from one place.
For many, UEM has replaced all of these other categories, providing a single tool that covers all of these needs, protecting data, managing devices agnostically on-premises and remotely, and even covering new and emerging use cases such as IoT.
Benefits include faster detection of issues, centralized alerts, patches and updates, and improved response and resolution time for clients or colleagues. You might also reduce the cost of endpoint management, as everything is managed through a single dashboard.
Is endpoint management software increasingly expensive as your business grows?
It doesn’t have to be! At Atera, we offer robust endpoint management that’s perfect for a small team of IT technicians, as we charge by technician, and never by endpoint. While many MSPs struggle to see ROI because the more endpoints they manage the higher the costs, this approach allows IT professionals to succeed without being punished for their own success.