Examining Endpoint Management Tools

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 23, 2017
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Endpoint devices today include laptops, tablets or even smartphones running on iOS and Android, printers or even smart meters, as opposed to mere desktop PCs running on Windows, a few years ago. While growth in the number of endpoint devices is beneficial from a user’s perspective, managing different and disparate devices with myriad configurations manually within an organization, challenges the IT administration departments. Managing multiple endpoint devices in the workplace environment and protecting the enterprise data in them besides ensuring that each of those devices is compliant with the enterprise policies, requires an efficient strategy. Endpoint Management Tools (EMTs) have been a revolutionary step in this direction.

Salient Features of an EMT

While choosing the endpoint management tools, it becomes highly essential for organization to appropriately evaluate the capabilities of these tools. Some of the features and functions offered by endpoint management products are discuss below.

Console:

This is a web interface that functions as a dashboard for EMTs. Consoles support the filtering mechanisms for obtaining the required information about the endpoint devices being administered.

Malware Protection:

Safeguarding endpoint devices from malware is an integral part of managing them. Hence, all EMTs feature an advanced mechanism for filtering malware.

Threat Intelligence:

A record of all the severe cyber threats affecting the industry helps immensely in efficient management of endpoint devices. Hence, threat intelligence is common in EMTs.

Mobile Device Management Support:

Due to an increase in the number of tablets and smartphones running on operating systems like iOS and Android in the enterprises, support for managing mobile devices is usually present in EMTs.

Virtualization Support:

Virtualization is becoming increasingly common in order to enhance the capacity of hard drives and servers. Operating Systems (OSs) too are being virtualized for running multiple OSs on a single system hardware. EMTs today support the management of OS virtualization.

Policy Compliance:

Endpoint devices are managed in accordance with the company’s asset management policies. Hence, most EMTs can comply with the internal workflow of enterprises. Also, integration with IT asset management software to simplify endpoint device management is a conspicuous trait in EMTs.

Latest Additions to EMTs

While all EMTs tend to offer functionalities that support the efficient management of endpoint devices, a few vendors have added more functions in them, for a competitive edge in the market. Some of them include:

Geofencing and Location Awareness:

To prevent the theft of devices containing enterprise data, organizations have begun to create a virtual fence around their premises using Global Positioning System (GPS) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology; this is known as geofencing, which allows managements to track the movements of various assets within the enterprise premises, often described as Location Awareness. With geofencing and location awareness being an integral part of enterprise policies, EMT vendors have begun to integrate them in their products.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR):

EDR refers to the various tools and processes concerned with scanning the endpoint devices for suspicious activities in order to mitigate the possibilities of data breaches. Automation of EDR is crucial for an effective vigilance on endpoint devices and therefore, some of the new ETMs tend to offer this feature as well.

Sandboxing:

Isolating the files affected by malware is essential to prevent them from affecting other files. This is referred to as Sandboxing and helps in the root-cause analysis of malware attacks. In order to assist organizations in understanding the cyberattacks better, EMTs have begun to offer Sandboxing support.

Support for threat analytics is also becoming common in EMTs today. Combining threat analytics with robust policies and practices with regard to data security, could also be effective in countering the sophistication of cyber threats. These features represent the benefits that an efficient endpoint management solution can bring to a business. Though each product has its own differentiation, the core services as listed above tend to remain the same. Technological advancements would contribute further to the improvement of EMTs.