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ManageEngine Desktop Central: Top UEM Software Review

ManageEngine Desktop Central and Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) go hand-in-hand. This software solution helps enterprises of all sizes centralize their networked device and user monitoring needs. It can also save companies time and financial resources thanks to several innovative automation and remote management features. 

What is unified endpoint management (UEM) software?

At a high level, UEM is an approach for managing mobile devices and other endpoints across an enterprise network from several angles, including network security, employee connectivity, regulatory compliance, and other mobility-related issues. 

UEM encompasses the goals and processes of Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), which can be considered a subset of UEM. EMM provides a framework for enterprises for creating policies, customizing apps, and securing network data when it is accessed and stored on connected devices. These programs typically include oversight of devices covered in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) policies. 

While EMM tends to strictly cover mobile devices, UEM casts a wider net. These software solutions centralize the oversight of endpoints, including laptops, tablets, PCs, printers, and IoT devices and sensors — essentially any endpoint connected anywhere along an enterprise network. 

ManageEngine Desktop Central is a popular choice for enterprises seeking a centralized UEM solution. 

ManageEngine Desktop Central features

ManageEngine Desktop Central adds helpful automation and centralized oversight for managing servers, desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and Point of Sale (PoS) devices. Enterprises can use this UEM and asset management solution to manage VPN settings, email accounts, password controls, access controls and application-level restrictions. 

The software enables IT teams to automate and centralize many routine tasks, including:

  • Software distribution

  • OS imaging and deployment

  • Managing IT assets

  • Software licensing oversight

  • Monitoring software and USB device usage 

  • WiFi configuration across multiple devices from a single point

  • Active Directory reports

From the UEM angle, ManageEngine Desktop Central offers several benefits:

  • Vulnerability assessment and threat mitigation

  • Application controls

  • Data loss prevention

  • Security configuration management

  • Endpoint privilege management

  • Browser security tools

  • Automated patch installation and management

  • Device control

  • BitLocker management

A screenshot of ManageEngine Desktop Central's endpoint vulnerability management user interface. Photo via ManageEngine.

A screenshot of ManageEngine Desktop Central's endpoint vulnerability management user interface. Photo via ManageEngine.

Integrations

ManageEngine Desktop Central supports Windows, Mac and Linux systems as well as iOS and Android via a mobile app.

The software is designed to integrate with other ManageEngine products. In particular, ManageEngine Desktop Central is often used alongside the company’s Servicedesk Plus help desk software to create a comprehensive IT services solution. Together, IT teams can handle their entire desktop and mobile device management activities from a singular interface. 

Other ManageEngine products that integrate with Desktop Central include:

  • ServiceDesk Plus On-Demand cloud-based help desk software (an SaaS-based help desk management offering)

  • OS Deployer imaging and deployment software

  • Asset Explorer inventory management software

  • Analytics Plus on-premises reporting and business intelligence analysis and reporting dashboard

Outside the ManageEngine universe, the software is capable of integrating with several popular help desk software products:

  • Jira 

  • ServiceNow 

  • Zendesk

  • Spiceworks

Benefits

ManageEngine Desktop Central customer quotes on its testimonials page consistently cite the software’s centralization features as its primary benefit. Being able to manage multiple endpoints across complex enterprise networks from a single interface is a significant improvement over the ad hoc approaches many teams work under. 

Several clients mention the software’s affordability versus its functionality. One client, Sean Condra, a Systems Engineer from Charter Communications, notes that the software goes beyond being a patching tool but is also a deployment, management and reporting suite. 

“Very few products accomplish this feat,” Condra says, “but ManageEngine's Desktop Central covers them all at a remarkable value.” This is a common theme among the customers highlighted by the company.

Use cases

ManageEngine Desktop Central users include IT departments at medium and large enterprises, though the company offers less fully-featured options of the software that may be more appropriate for smaller companies. ManageEngine mentions several major companies that have used its services, including IBM, Honda, IKEA, Bridgestone, Xerox and GE. 

Desktop Central customers cite IT centralization and process management improvements as main use cases for the software. For example, Pivot Engineering and General Contracting has found the program to be an improvement over their previous oversight processes on several fronts. 

On the ManageEngine website, IT manager Aytek Adogan is quoted as saying, "Prior to the implementation of any new products, our tracking capabilities of project completions and asset management were limited to Excel spreadsheets. This was not beneficial to myself as a manager or for my technicians, as we were unable to detect reports and analyse data on a real-time basis.”

A screenshot of ManageEngine Desktop Central's software management user interface. Photo via ManageEngine.

A screenshot of ManageEngine Desktop Central's software management user interface. Photo via ManageEngine.

User reviews

The Gartner PeerInsights review gives ManageEngine Desktop Central an aggregated score of 4.6 out of 5.0. Top scoring features include:

  • Patching (4.7)

  • Inventory and software use (4.7)

  • Software distribution (4.6)

  • Administration and usage (4.5)

  • Scalability (4.4)

The lowest scoring feature across the 18 reviews compiled by Gartner PeerInsights is customization, which received a 4.1 aggregated score. 

Here are a few other aggregated scores from prominent online review sites:

Review site

Sample review quote

Capterra (4.5/5.0)

"Implementation and day to day operations are super easy. Endpoint management becomes a handy task."

TrustRadius (8.6/10.0)

“It is fantastic tool for managing desktops, laptops, and servers. I do not recommend for managing smart phones or iPads.”

Software Advice (4.47/5.0)

“Nice MDM, desktop, laptop and mobile management all in one place.”

G2 (4.0/5.0)

“To have a complete organization chart in the computers of our company in a software is a marvel.”

Pricing

DesktopCentral is available as a free, limited-feature product suitable for SMBs and offers three editions geared toward larger enterprises, as well. 

ManageEngine
Desktop Central
Edition

Suitable for

Annual
subscription price

Free

Small businesses (up to 25 computers and 25 mobile devices)

$0.00

Professional

Basic desktop and laptop management in LAN

$795*

Enterprise

Desktop and laptop management across WAN

$945*

UEM

Complete endpoint management across WAN (including servers, desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile devices)

$1085*

*Up to 50 users

UEM market

A recent report by Grandview Research puts the size of the global UEM market at $2.75 billion, a figure expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 30% by 2027. Given the increasing number of endpoints enterprises must manage on a routine basis, no doubt the UEM marketplace will continue expanding into the foreseeable future. 

UEM software makers

Prominent UEM software market competitors include:

  • Ivanti Unified Endpoint Manager

  • IBM MaaS360 with Watson

  • Microsoft Intune

  • N-Able Remote Monitoring & Management

  • KACE by Quest

  • NinjaRMM

  • ConnectWise Automate

  • Datadog

  • Workspace ONE Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) Powered by AirWatch

  • MobileIron (acquired by Avanti)

Conclusions

ManageEngine Desktop Central is a capable software offering in the UEM marketplace. Reviewers frequently cite the program’s helpful centralization features, its ability to automate routine tasks, and remote tools that allow IT teams to manage a variety of security and administrative functions.  

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UEM