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The Power of Endpoint Management: Enhancing Security and Productivity

What is endpoint management? 

Endpoint management involves the tools, policies, and practices that security and IT teams use to authenticate, monitor, and provide access to an organization’s devices, both on-premises and in the cloud. Robust management includes implementing unified cloud endpoint management and endpoint security solutions, as well as making sure employees can easily connect to their devices while giving them the best, most secure experience possible with minimal access barriers. 

Endpoints are the physical devices that connect to the organization’s network and exchange data and information. Typically, endpoints are desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and servers. Endpoints can also encompass Internet of Things (IoT) devices like thermostats, security systems, and cameras, point of sale systems, printers, and anything else that connects to or communicates with the organization’s network.  

Increasingly, as organizations shift to hybrid and remote work strategies, employees are using a wider range of devices, cloud environments, and Desktop as a Service (DaaS)—including options like the Windows 365 Cloud PC, which allows employees to stream their personalized content from the cloud to any device. Both physical and cloud networks are becoming more complex, requiring stronger security and monitoring from IT teams. Endpoint management software gives IT professionals centralized controls and dashboards that improve efficiencies and allow for quicker threat detection and remediation. 

 

Why is endpoint management important? 

As organizations shift toward more flexible work strategies, security threats continue to increase in scope, complexity, and frequency. The potential for cyberattackers to identify and exploit vulnerabilities at multiple access points across network and cloud environments makes the need for strong endpoint management more vital than ever. Rising numbers of cyberattacks mean that organizations must be vigilant and work to ensure that all endpoints are approved for use, kept updated, and protected. 

Endpoint management can be a challenge, but it’s vital for businesses to limit their exposure and allow them to reassure their clients that they are doing everything they can to protect their data and information. Having strong endpoint management in place offers a range of other business advantages, including: 

  • Workforce productivity: Run reliable productivity solutions on any endpoint, powering productive experiences for employees. 
  • Strong infrastructure security protections: Provide secure, appropriate access to your organization’s computing resources and deliver a protected, personalized experience while empowering flexible work. 
  • Streamline and consolidate tools: Eliminate redundant solutions to free up valued IT resources so they can focus on more complex problem solving. Deploy, manage, and secure all your endpoints in a unified console, maximizing your technology investment and skills, get complete visibility to stay on top of the health, compliance, and security status of your cloud and on-premises endpoints. 
  • Cost savings: A strong endpoint management solution, like Intune, can cut costs and complexity by managing any device, which is already included with Microsoft 365. No need to pay for multiple different siloed solutions—simplifying vendor landscapes and reducing duplicate services. Companies can maximize their technology investments by using existing Microsoft tools to adapt and thrive in a flexible work environment. 

 

How does endpoint management work? 

Endpoint management functions by helping to ensure that each device connected to an organization’s multiple networks and cloud environments are secure, approved to access the resources employees need, and easy to use. However, these functions become increasingly complex as more remote devices and cloud services are added, expanding the organization’s attack surface. Endpoint management software can simplify tasks like automatically scheduling operating system updates, sending new device configurations, and reminding employees to change passwords. 

Typically, a cybersecurity team works off a centralized dashboard that allows them to monitor the health and configuration of every connected device and cloud service. Endpoint management software like Microsoft Intune gives security teams the tools they need to identify and remediate threats, including reports and analytics, alerts, and automated updates. 

Recognized endpoint management solution responsibilities include: 

  • Patch management: IT teams make sure software, apps, drivers, and firmware have the latest updates, reducing vulnerabilities and keeping devices synchronized. 
  • Asset management: IT teams manage and support all devices connected to the network and in the cloud, ensuring systems and apps are updated, passwords are changed regularly, and Wi-Fi and VPNs are properly configured. 
  • Endpoint detection and response: Endpoint monitoring allows security analysts to prioritize alerts, understand threats, and remediate attacks across every device and cloud environment. 

 

Benefits of endpoint management 

Strong endpoint management solutions allow organizations to improve the work experience for all employees and promote efficiency and cost-saving measures. Benefits of strong endpoint protection include: 

  • Functional, flexible, and hybrid work scenarios: Organizations with effective endpoint management strategies can better support hybrid and remote employees with the knowledge that all devices, both on-premises and off-premises, proprietary and employee-owned, are more secure. 
  • Improved employee experience: Employees can more securely access the data and resources they need for their work, from multiple devices and cloud services. IT teams can quickly and easily provide support for remote and on-site workers. 
  • Stronger security systems and policies: Organizations can rest easy knowing they have robust security tools in place that protect every endpoint across their attack surface. 
  • More efficient security threat detection and remediation: IT teams can make better use of their time when they have access to unified endpoint management systems. 
  • Simplified operations for security teams: Dashboards, reports, and alerts allow security teams to streamline their operations. 
  • Reduced IT overhead costs and return on investment: Effective endpoint management strategies save employees time, and endpoint management software can allow IT teams to simplify the number of tools and programs they use to manage their operating system, a wide variety of devices, and cloud solutions. 

 

Endpoint protection and management strategies 

To establish strong endpoint protection policies, organizations can explore using endpoint management software and solutions. These tools can help IT teams ensure that every device and cloud solution is regularly scanned and reviewed for vulnerabilities, and make sure that updates, patches, and applications are functioning correctly. 

To ensure employees are properly authorized and authenticated, IT teams might consider establishing a Zero Trust model—which requires organizations verify their workforce explicitly, use the least privileged access, and assume breach to contain damage. Especially with organizations that have bring your own device (BYOD) policies, it’s important for IT teams to decide and create policies around which devices will be approved for access to network and cloud services and which employees can access specific data, tools, and applications. IT teams can also enact policies for departments that most efficiently cater to the needs of their teams. 

Examples of strategies for endpoint management include: 

  • BYOD: or bring your own PC (BYOPC) policies allow employees to connect their own devices to network and cloud services. Organizations can communicate to their employees which devices are approved for access and should ensure they have policies in place to restrict or allow access. 
  • Privileged access management (PAM): PAM is as an identity security solution that works through a combination of people, processes, and technology to give security teams visibility into privileged accounts and actions. PAM policies help reduce attacks and block unauthorized access. 
  • Zero Trust: AZero Trust model helps guard everything within an organization’s network and cloud environments, including endpoint devices. Zero Trust creates a framework that best protects data, information, and access to applications. 

 

Endpoint management best practices 

In addition to having clear strategies around endpoint security, organizations need to understand and have visibility into every device connected to their network and cloud services to identify vulnerabilities and protect against threats. Endpoint management solutions like Intune—which is included in Microsoft 365—can help detect everything, from cell phones and laptops to cloud devices, that’s connected and therefore vulnerable, something that’s especially important for organizations with BYOD policies. 

Some essentials to consider when reviewing endpoint management solutions include: 

  • The tool should be able to maintain updated operating systems and security software.Patch management tasks can reduce vulnerabilities and help keep assets and data protected. Endpoint management software can help automate some of these tasks, reducing workloads for IT teams. 
  • It should help employees understand security policies. When people understand the reasons behind the actions their organization is asking them to take, they’re more likely to comply. 
  • The solution should have a built-in Zero Trust model. Organizations using Zero Trust architecture have strong security, minimized risk, and improved employee experience. 
  • It should employ access management to make sure data stays where it should be with processes like multifactor authentication, password updates, and other security policies. 

 

Getting started with endpoint management 

A strong endpoint management strategy can help protect proprietary and client data, systems, and applications while keeping businesses competitive. Endpoint management solutions like Microsoft Intuneand endpoint security solutions like Microsoft Defendercan help organizations reassure their clients by providing robust protections for all employees, devices, hybrid workplaces, and cloud services. Endpoint management and protection services like these simplify management, mitigate threats, help protect data, and improve compliance, all while lowering overall overhead costs. 

Learn moreabout how to protect and manage all your endpoints in one place, all at a lower total cost of ownership. 

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