Every endpoint connected to company resources can be a point of infiltration for bad actors, especially with the rise of remote work and employees using personal devices for business purposes. This is where endpoint management comes in.
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What is endpoint management?
Endpoint management refers to access permissions and security policies and tools that are implemented on a given endpoint. An endpoint could be any of the following:
- Desktops and laptops
- Mobile devices
- Media extenders
- Internet of things (IoT) devices
An endpoint management solution aims to defend endpoints from threats and keep them in compliance while providing access to company data and resources to verified users.
The endpoint management process
The exact mechanics behind managing a given endpoint can depend on the user’s permission level, the type of device and the resources the user needs to access, but generally the endpoint management process has these components:
Naturally, in order to manage any endpoints, you have to know what your endpoints are. Mobile device management solutions allow administrators to keep track of what devices are in their fleet, who is associated with each device and what their security status is.
The deployment part of the process involves allocating appropriate devices to users. For remote workforces especially, this process can be time and resource intensive, depending on each company’s internal processes. At this stage, the device is prepped for device management and any security tools.
Configuration refers to how each device that is deployed is set up to ensure it can only be accessed by the appropriate user while providing the needed tools and applications related to their job function.
Once a user is using their configured device, the security and management tools on their device should work to monitor the health of the device and maintain compliance with their security requirements.
The benefits of endpoint management
It’s no surprise that endpoint management is better than assigning devices out into the field and leaving them to their own… well, devices. But what exactly is gained?
With the appropriate endpoint management tool, efficiency can be improved every step of the way. Zero-touch deployment in conjunction with Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program means IT never has to interact with devices; they go directly from Apple to the user ready for management and access to company resources. Management tools allow for remote configuration and monitoring behind the scenes, meaning fewer requests to IT and inconvenience for the user.
Endpoint management allows organizations to allocate apps to users; IT can pre-approve critical apps, empowering users to merely download them as needed, with no additional support tickets or requests for permission necessary. A portal like our Self Service portal makes access to apps simple and secure, since users no longer have to guess whether their downloading authentic tools suitable for their jobs. Additionally, your management tools can push apps to users as needed while keeping them patched and up to date.
Managing your endpoints ensures their operating system and applications up to date, keeps access to your company resources locked behind strict authentication requirement, provides endpoint protection and gives IT telemetry data to keep your fleet safe.
All in all, this all results in streamlining IT workflows to get devices to users while giving users convenient, efficient and secure ways to get their work done.
Key features of endpoint management tools
Let’s take a look at what capabilities endpoint management solutions need to possess to achieve the benefits listed above.
Mobile device management (MDM) solutions aid with inventory management by providing a central repository of your endpoints while tracking:
- Security status
- Management status
- Software status
- User assignment
- Location assignment
- Settings configured
- Smart Group memberships
- Custom attributes
By tracking this information, you can ensure devices are being used by approved users with the best security possible. Enrolling your endpoints into an MDM also ensures employees have access to the tools they need, regardless of the device location and network its connected to.
Patch and software distribution
Your MDM solution can also streamline the process to keep your endpoints up to date with the latest OS and app patches, reducing the risk of bad actors exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities.
It’s not sufficient for endpoint management tools to only manage devices on the local company network. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) gives users access to company tools securely by creating unique micro-tunnels to applications as they are needed. This ensures users can only access the resources necessary to perform their job tasks—by upholding the principle of least privilege.
Adding endpoint protection software to your fleet monitors your endpoints for anomalous behavior and both unknown and known threats. This aids IT and Security teams’ threat hunting efforts, simplifying remediation and expediting the incident response process.
Jamf can help manage and secure your endpoints.
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