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Reducing Endpoint Management Bloatware

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Originally printed at www.btc.co.uk

Ashley Leonard, President and CEO of Verismic explains his view on the imperative of simplifying Endpoint management

It’s now well accepted that employees use multiple devices in the workplace. Desktop PCs have been augmented with laptops, tablets and smartphones. The Internet of Things will make the penetration of internet connected devices into the corporate world even greater.

The risk to the corporate network caused by unmanaged and potentially unpatched devices, commonly called endpoints, is significant. After all, it only takes one rogue to create a security flaw, so thousands could wreak havoc. Traditional endpoint management tools fail to protect businesses by being cumbersome. They are too complex, function heavy, unwieldy, and too demanding of resources: especially people and infrastructure.

COMPLEXITY 
Endpoint management tools have grown in complexity. Vendors add more and more functions to their core product, often unnecessarily, and all too often failing to help organisations control endpoints quickly and efficiently.

When speaking to organisations, from the smallest to the largest, 99 per cent of the time they primarily want asset inventory and remote control tools. That’s what they need urgently and use frequently. Customers also use software deployment and patching but only in around 75 per cent of cases. The remaining functionality of endpoint management tools is generally wasted, confusing and delaying the endpoint management process.

As a result of the excessive functionality, the User Interface (UI) of traditional tools inherits this complexity too. For IT, it becomes harder to find their way around the UI, which inevitably leads to additional costs for supplier training services or even worse, administrators giving up and performing tasks the old way.

It’s also quite often the case that traditional endpoint management tools actually require dedicated people, systems administrators, to manage the tools and keep them running, such is their complexity. Without the right people how do you even know the tool is running efficiently and effectively? It might not even be running at all. If your business doesn’t have that person or team, you’ll need to hire.

That’s another unwanted cost and another delay to managing devices – and costs are not just limited to people and training either. Traditional endpoint management tools also generate additional costs for servers, software and maintenance. This is usually a significant upfront cost as well as an ongoing maintenance cost. Some of these tools even require servers at each site within the organisation.

MANAGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT, NOT YOUR MANAGEMENT TOOL
Endpoint management tools should remain simple, focused and flexible. Here’s what businesses should be demanding:

  • A product which starts with the primary requirement for asset inventory, remote control, software distribution and patching, with additional functionality available instantly 
  • They need a simple UI, but with the flexibility to interrogate the system in more detail if required
  • Naturally, they need low monthly payments with no long-term contract
  • Businesses need endpoint management tools, which are quick to deploy and provide rapid asset discovery, even for modern environments which operate BYOD policies, virtual environments and mobile device fleets. This means using endpoint management tools which operate from the internet using agentless technology, and do not require the installation of clients that require constant updates and patches
  • Finally, endpoint management tools should operate from the cloud, because today’s endpoints are inside and outside the firewall. Cloud endpoint management is also better suited to Managed Service Providers, who frequently support customers outside the firewall. 

We’re seeing fewer and fewer businesses sign up for on premise software and an increasing demand for cloud services. Businesses neither want nor need to worry about hardware costs and the recruitment of systems administrators.

In 2014, flexibility and simplicity is the name of the game. Endpoint management providers and tools which can’t demonstrate these core principles are destined for the endpoint scrapheap. NC