Ensuring Digital Security and Safety in the enterprise with UEMs

Two years of the pandemic have induced a sea of change to the conventional notion of an ideal workplace. The pandemic, however, could be given credit for fuelling up the quick transition to the remote work trend, which was already on the cards. We had long been building our way into a work culture that would no longer rely on corporate perimeters. The shift from on-premises to SaaS applications, the adoption of cloud-based workspaces like Office 365 and the dependence on cloud storage solutions like OneDrive were all steppingstones to today’s new normal.

With the pandemic storm slowly calming down, businesses are slowly transitioning from remote work to a hybrid model. This shift made us realize that the tried-and-true traditional ways of securing devices would no longer suffice. While the pandemic witnessed major developments in the field of business, I intend to highlight the presence of an equally notable solution, Unified Endpoint Management (UEM).

Hybrid Work and BYOD: Answering the cravings for flexibility

Amidst concerns about productivity and efficiency, many employees of the younger generation root for a flexible work style. 86% of the organizations believe that their employees prefer a hybrid work model; however, about 72% of them lack a detailed hybrid work strategy. IT admins were put in a tough spot when it came to evaluating their current security posture and deciding on a solution that would fit them right. A UEM’s ability to provide comprehensive visibility into the devices helped the solution garner the attention of IT admins.

Once a device is onboarded on a UEM solution, the IT admin gets an overview of the device hardware, enrolment details, activity feed etc. Additionally, the applications installed and the compliance status can also be tracked. The sole purpose of UEMs is to manage, monitor and secure devices remotely. Few UEM vendors grant admins the ability to remotely view and control corporate devices. For instance, if a user encounters software-related issues, the admin can troubleshoot the device remotely without end-user interference. Adding to its remote capability, compromised or lost devices can be locked and wiped when the situation demands. Furthermore, applications and patches can be pushed remotely, ensuring the smooth sailing of the device.

Businesses joining the BYOD bandwagon was another common trend during the pandemic. Since its inception, the trend has elicited mixed emotions in terms of security and privacy. Businesses found it challenging to draw a line between ensuring security and privacy simultaneously. However, the introduction of containerization helped UEMs create a discrete work profile capable of storing corporate resources, all the while ensuring the security of the content.

Against the upcoming threat landscape

The transition to a complete remote lifestyle was novel for businesses, and this unveiled a new window of opportunities for hackers. Some of the worst attacks could be dated to the 2020-21 timeframe. Be it a large organization or an SMB, profitable or humanitarian, everyone with data had something to lose. Now, rewinding the clock, one could see an unsecured endpoint or a negligent cyber practice as the root cause. In response to the concern, UEM solutions provide IT admins with first-hand knowledge of all distributed endpoints helping them stay up to date on the status quo and compliance of the device.

Out of the various enrolment approaches, out-of-the-box enrolment in which devices onboard automatically on their initial boot up and bulk enrolment, where multiple devices are simultaneously onboarded, have received widespread attention amidst the outbreak. Once enrolled, compliance policies configured with the device automatically gets pushed.

UEM solutions help admins push password policies capable of defining the length, characters and history of the password set by an employee. Organizations can also define the app repository by whitelisting productive apps and blacklisting malicious apps and websites. Admins can also impose policies capable of restricting access to Bluetooth or other external devices. Furthermore, UEMs grant organizations granular control over a device's functionalities, enabling them to restrict access to certain features that employees might not need.

Simplifying IT Administration

Managing swarms of devices, the applications installed, and the data it covers have always been an arduous task. However, the deal became even more challenging when corporate devices became geographically dispersed, no longer confined within the corporate perimeter.

An IT team comprises of administrators, technicians, and other personnel. However, not every role requires access to the information and tabs in a UEM console. A UEM acts as a repository for stacks of corporate data, and granulating access to these data is another feature UEM offers. The solution allows IT admins to customize the access personnel must have within the console, thereby limiting visibility and control. By implementing a layered infrastructure, organizations can ensure that the right person has access to the right resources.

Final Note

Given the rapid influx of mobile technology, businesses will require the right tool to tighten security and ensure productivity. Enterprises have realized the necessity of endpoint management tools, and the UEM market is forecasted to touch $18.9 billion by 2026. Cyber crimes are predicted to take a new turn, and enterprises must equip themselves with the best solution to detect threats before being breached. While the dark side may launch geopolitical and OT (Operational Technology) attacks like the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the beauty of UEM lies in its potential to collaborate with other top-notch technological advances such as ZTNA, IoT, IAM, and password-less authentication. These solutions do not promise a farewell to cybercrimes; instead, they bring on a challenging game for hackers to crack, keeping threats at bay.