The Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) Software Market
The adoption of unified endpoint management (UEM) software solutions by enterprise organizations has become increasingly prevalent as enterprise networking has become more complex.
While some of the increase in the number of endpoints connecting to enterprise networks was rather predictable — remote work has been on the rise for years, for instance — endpoints have emerged from less-expected sources as well. The rise of the Internet of Things is a key example.
Millions of devices are autonomously connected to home and corporate networks, from smart wearables to appliances and office machines to sensors that can monitor the temperate and condition of goods as they travel through supply chains. Each of these represents a potential opening for cybercriminals seeking a way to access valuable, sensitive enterprise data.
UEM software enables enterprises to gain better control over wide-ranging endpoint types and provides a structure for managing mobile device usage among employees.
Unified endpoint management (UEM) software
It’s important to view UEM in the context of how it relates to enterprise mobility management (EMM), “a set of technology, processes and policies to secure and manage the use of corporate- and employee-owned mobile devices within an organization,” according to Citrix.
EMM has evolved over time into an umbrella term that describes the management of mobile devices connected to enterprise networks. EMM encompasses technologies such as mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM), which manage features on devices. EMM provides a framework for policy creation, app customization and securing network data when it is accessed and stored on connected devices, including personally owned mobile devices allowed under bring your own device (BYOD) and choose your own device (CYOD) policies.
Over the past few years, UEM has emerged as an even larger umbrella — one that includes EMM and all the components that contribute to this area and adds endpoint management to the mix. The largest distinction is that UEM goes beyond traditional mobile devices, covering endpoints such as laptops, tablets, PCs, printers and IoT devices connected to enterprise networks. UEM is an approach to standardizing and policing every network connection with customized hardware and software solutions.
An employee talks on their smartphone at the office. Courtesy Adobe.
UEM software solutions include features that help IT teams oversee endpoint management. Here are some commonly seen features available among the products offered in the UEM software marketplace.
Comprehensive single-pane endpoint management
A centralized dashboard or portal is a key UEM software feature. IT teams can access every endpoint connected to their networks and manage them through a single location. Older UEM software solutions often required separate management software installations for each connected device type. Modern UEM allows users to handle a wide array of device types and configurations.
Security threat monitoring and mitigation
Protecting enterprise networks from security breaches is a primary task for UEM solutions. Because cybercriminals commonly seek out vulnerable endpoints to gain entry, it’s important to select a UEM solution capable of monitoring every endpoint. These features typically trigger alerts that network security analysts can review and act on, though some solutions are able to disable a connection or remediate suspicious behavior in other ways when threats are detected.
Machine learning integration
Advanced UEM solutions often include artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements, such as machine learning capabilities, that can further enhance network security among multiple endpoints. Over time, these solutions can uncover vulnerabilities that may have gone unnoticed by security teams by analyzing historic network behavior to predict future outcomes.
UEM software often incorporates features such as secure VPN connections or container encryption to further safeguard sensitive enterprise data. App containerization is one popular approach. Here, the software keeps user apps and data separate from enterprise apps and data. UEM software can stop these users and bad actors in their tracks should they attempt to jailbreak a device or install malicious apps or root drives.
Device management and life cycle
UEM software can help enterprises manage their device distribution and life cycle programs. This feature can be especially helpful in BYOD environments and for enterprises managing many IoT connections.
App and software management
Organizations with a need to tightly control how users interact with applications on connected devices can find UEM software solutions with built-in enterprise application repositories where users can download and install pre-approved apps.
Identity and access management (IAM)
IAM and mobile identity management (MIM) features can help enterprises keep devices and applications locked down. Control options vary widely, from basic password protection and management features to biometric gates that require fingerprints or face scans for access from connected endpoints.
The goals of UEM can net big benefits for its adopters, including net financial positives. The is set of benefits make a compelling case for investing in a UEM software solution:
Make sense of complex endpoint infrastructures
Network infrastructures have become astonishingly complex. In addition to the multiple devices connected to networks by employees, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, network endpoints include hundreds of office machines, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, security systems, various audio-video tech and more.
UEM software helps enterprises categorize their endlessly growing lists of endpoints and adds helpful automation to manual tasks that eat up work hours. Unified endpoint management means exactly that — it’s a singular solution for managing multiple endpoints, which is a significant improvement over solutions that require IT teams to constantly switch between systems and singular endpoint management solutions.
Boost network security
The security features built into UEM software solutions aren’t designed to replace robust cybersecurity solutions that enterprises should have in place, but they do serve as another barrier against network intrusion. Endpoints have become attractive pathways for bad actors who want to get their hands on sensitive data. UEM security features focus on shoring up the inherent vulnerabilities multiple endpoints pose by maintaining an inventory of authorized devices and software, securing endpoint configurations and adding more control over administrative privileges.
Make better enterprise business decisions
Gaining control over endpoint management can position enterprises to make more informed decisions across a wide range of concerns. Business leaders can avoid expensive redundancies when it comes to network security solutions, for example, when they have a better handle on how endpoint security is being managed.
Endpoint management adds peace of mind over regulatory compliance concerns, including compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and the GDPR, which place a high burden on organizations that handle sensitive consumer and patient information. Companies that invest in UEM may be able to streamline policies related to employee device usage, as well.
UEM use cases
There are several UEM use case scenarios that are common to many enterprises. Any organization that is currently applying an ad hoc, patchwork approach to endpoint management stands to benefit from the unification UEM can bring. Here are a few use cases for UEM among enterprise organizations:
Mobile device management
UEM makes it possible for organizations to manage mobile device usage from both a high and a granular level. By gaining more insight into all the devices connecting to the network, IT teams can categorize, blacklist, whitelist and monitor everything from a single interface.
Mobile application and content management
UEM tools allow IT teams to distribute and oversee how applications and content are being used across the network on mobile devices. This approach is much more secure than issuing policies that employees may or may not understand or follow.
UEM reaches beyond mobile devices and content management. Today, it is not uncommon for enterprise networks to include many thousands of endpoints, including IoT devices and sensors. Statista estimates that there are currently more than 10 billion IoT connected devices, a number expected to rise to over 25 billion by 2030. Enterprise organizations account for a large portion of these. UEM helps enterprises account for the totality of connected endpoints, which is necessary if networks are to be fully protected and managed.
Grandview Research reports that the global UEM market was valued at $2.75 billion in 2019 and that it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.2% from 2020 to 2027. Not surprisingly, the firm cites the growing usage of endpoints as the primary contributor for the increase. The more connected the world becomes, the greater need there will be for endpoint management.
Other contributing factors include the rising adoption of 5G technologies among enterprises. As speeds increase and remote connections become more stable, we can expect to see a steady rise in work-from-home arrangements, which will naturally lead to more endpoint connections that will require monitoring and oversight.
UEM software makers
The five most frequently reviewed UEM software offerings on TrustPilot, for example, include:
- MobileIron (acquired by Avanti)
- Microsoft Endpoint Manager
- Ivanti Unified Endpoint Manager
- Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) Powered by AirWatch
- IBM MaaS360 with Watson
Endpoint management is a growing enterprise priority
In terms of where the business world is headed, one thing is certain: connected companies will reign supreme.
Enterprises that manage their sprawling networks with tools such as UEM will be much better positioned to take advantage of the promises of emerging technologies and the expanded global talent pool of remote workers.