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Endpoint management: Overcoming common challenges in 2023

Jere Jutila

Jere Jutila

Director of Business Development at Miradore
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Image credit: your / Shutterstock.com

Changing working patterns – including increasing remote working and a shift in how we access corporate data on different devices – have created new challenges beyond traditional on-premises IT management.

And while many are reaping the rewards of flexibility and convenience in working across multiple devices, it naturally leads to increased threats – with more endpoints increasing the number of attack points for malicious actors.

With remote working here to stay, these challenges aren’t going anywhere and IT teams need to respond to enable efficient and secure working models while avoiding disruption and costly downtime.

So, which endpoint management trends can we expect to see over the next 12 months as businesses get to grips with the risks posed by modern working habits?

Identifying the challenges

The rise in remote working – fast-tracked by the Covid-19 pandemic – has transformed endpoint management for IT teams, who were traditionally responsible for on-premises infrastructure.

With this trend comes multiple challenges. The first is in the use of remote devices not physically connected to the workplace infrastructure, with the sheer number of devices being used – both personal and corporate – also increasing complexity and potential risks.

This ‘data sprawl’ makes it difficult to maintain compliance, with remote employees accessing data and applications from laptops, tablets, mobile phones and more. As a result, the demand on IT teams is growing, manually reviewing an increasing number of device and data requests.

And these challenges come at a time when the cybersecurity risk landscape is also increasing – with endpoints serving as the main access point to a network and, therefore, a common target of malicious actors.

A recent survey revealed 68 percent of organisations had data assets or IT infrastructure compromised as a direct result of endpoint attacks over the last year. With the average cost of an endpoint breach believed to be $8.94 million, businesses cannot afford to leave network security to the individual.

Organisations face a headache in managing the secure facilitation of remote working – as well as balancing additional demands such as lifecycle management – in a way that limits disruption. But what does this mean for already-stretched IT teams?

Seamless security

The benefits of remote working derive from its convenience, with individuals working from laptops at home, tablets while commuting and even checking work emails on phones. In fact, 69% of employees now use personal devices to complete work tasks.

While this delivers convenience for employees, it must not come at the expense of business security. Flexible working must be frictionless yet secure, allowing employees to access resources without navigating layers of identification protocols, while also not compromising the network.

This ongoing challenge will see businesses continue to focus on two key areas in 2023 and beyond – Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) and Digital Experience Management (DEM).

Building on the principles of Mobile Device Management, UEM supports the full spectrum of devices adopted by the modern BYOD workforce and allows IT teams to monitor and apply security protocols from a single platform. Not only does this deliver consistency and minimise room for error or blind spots – by unifying device management in a single environment – but it also saves time and complexity for busy IT teams.

Adopting DEM techniques, businesses can then refine the experience for their teams, minimising friction to deliver the platforms needed to complete work efficiently without disruption or downtime.

‘Self-healing’

Manual endpoint management is a risky and inefficient approach that demands time and resources and leaves businesses open to the vulnerabilities associated with human error.

As the convenience of flexible working continues to be a key driver among engaged employees, IT teams are becoming overstretched. Research suggests the average employee now uses around five different smart devices for work – each requiring access credentials as well as the application of the latest security updates and patches to remain compliant with the organisation’s security policy.

Businesses must be able to automate a portion of this workload to save on time and resources, allowing IT teams to focus on high-value, high-priority tasks. Enter UEM.

While all endpoint management tasks deliver value for the business and cannot be overlooked, they aren’t necessarily all complex. In fact, many tasks – such as monitoring device performance and data, coordinating updates and generating reports – are highly predictable and repetitive.

Automating these processes allows businesses to fulfil the responsibilities of endpoint management – delivering complete visibility over the state of their IT infrastructure – without draining manual IT resources.

Plus, automation can lower costs for businesses and even lead to faster response times to potential security threats.

From rollout to retirement

Each device in a business’ fleet goes through multiple stages, from purchase, enrolment and configuration to maintenance and regular updating with the latest security patches, and eventually being retired and replaced with the latest generation of products.

Taking a whole lifecycle approach to endpoint management provides 360-degree visibility over the status of each device – allowing businesses to make maintenance and support more efficient and react swiftly to vulnerabilities – and ultimately contributes to wider sustainability efforts, too.

Effective endpoint management throughout the whole product lifecycle gives workforces access to the latest technology on each device when they need it while minimising the impact of device fleets on the environment.

Plus, this plays a role in preventing costs from spiralling – allowing businesses to effectively manage each device to get the most out of its capabilities.

Device ownership management and maintenance account for 80% of the total cost of ownership (TCO). So, proactive maintenance represents an opportunity for significant savings among businesses able to anticipate challenges and make sure devices are fitted with the latest updates, compared with reacting late to challenges, downtime from lagging devices and even replacing equipment.

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