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Modern Endpoint Manager

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What is Microsoft Endpoint Manager?

In this article, I am going to Talk about the evolution of endpoint management, the challenges organizations face, and the benefits of Microsoft’s endpoint manager solution.

Before we dig in, one must ask what the difference is between MDM (Mobile Device Management), EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management) , and UEM (Unified Endpoint Management).
Most products we know such as Intune and AirWatch all started out as MDM products. This allowed these systems to make a mobile device dedicated device for use at work and give admins the ability to remotely manage these devices. As mobile OS’s, such as iOS and Android, as well as the hardware became more advanced, these products supported features that became known as EMM solutions. EMM allows for not only MDM functions, but also the BYOD functions giving admins the ability to manage the corporate data on mobile phones without the need to fully manage a user’s personal device. EMM products allow for admins to control how corporate data is used and remotely wipe only that data should the user no longer need access to it. The latest evolution of these products is called UEM solutions. These solutions allow not only management of mobile OS’s, but also laptops, desktops, IoT devices, and more while still providing a single interface for administration.
Endpoint Manager was and is still referred to as Intune, but at Ignite 2020, the cloud based Intune EMM product was renamed to Endpoint Manager due to MECM now having the ability to communicate with the product and give IT admins a single dashboard to manage their environment. This move took Endpoint Manager from an advanced EMM solution to a full UEM solution. This small change now allowed admins to manage devices that are both cloud connected and on-prem connected at the same time through the same interface.

Common Problems Organizations Face With Endpoint Management

As discussed, throughout the evolution of the UEM products, organizations may have deployed multiple products to manage their systems. The most common is deploying MECM (Previously SCCM, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager) to manage fully on-prem systems and deploying what was once a MDM or EMM product such as AirWatch or Intune to manage their mobile platforms. This creates a situation where more management portals must be used by IT admins to secure their full environment.

Another issue most organizations face is how to continue securing their data in this ever mobile world. With organizations moving towards an always-on and always available stance for their employees, it becomes increasingly obvious that when it comes to securing mobile phones and tablets, most organizations are behind or unable to get started due to the amount of products claiming they are top tier UEM solutions to the implementation time and additional agents required to facilitate the management.
The final issue most organizations face is the age old task of providing constant and accurate data, analysis, and reporting. Although IT admins tend to have a good pulse of the environment, higher level managers and interested parties require summarized reports giving them the ability to report to those higher than themselves. This reporting helps inform decision makers on budget, issues that need to be addressed in the environment as well as giving praise to the admins for meeting patching or deployment KPI’s

How Can Endpoint Manager Help?

To tackle the first issue that was brought up, Endpoint Manager natively ties into MECM allowing for a unified dashboard to manage your cloud and on-prem resources. The organization is not required to be using Intune functionality to gain this ability and allow admins to start using Endpoint Manager. This simple hook allows devices to be moved easily from MECM on-prem management to a cloud based management profile allowing devices to be monitored and configured without connectivity back to the organizational VPN. Moving devices to this cloud management gives helpdesk personnel the functionality such as remotely helping users without the need for the end-user being on the organizational VPN.
The second issue brought up is securing the data in an always-on mobile world. Most organizations struggle with managing their mobile workforce and the additional cost and implementation required. Endpoint Manager helps because most organizations already own this functionality through their current 365 licensing, and with the product being fully cloud based, no additional agents are required. In addition, endpoint Manager uses built-in functionality of Windows 10 and higher devices and native iOS and Android management protocols. This allows an organization to onboard as slowly or quickly as possible without additional agents or overhead on the infrastructure.
The last problem that was brought up is reporting. IT admins know the struggle in stopping their day to day activities to provide managers and others data on the environment health, be it patching status or overall configuration numbers. Endpoint Manager allows advanced reporting to be shared out to the appropriate resources allowing IT admins to continue their day to day activities without stopping to compile data. These analytics also go beyond just reporting, they also provide analytics on machine performance (such as startup times) and machine health to gauge potential issues with one or multiple systems in the future. Should even more analysis be needed, these endpoint logs can also be sent to a log analytics workspace to create custom queries and dashboards to ensure everyone gets up to date and accurate data at any time.

Conclusion

Endpoint Manager is an ever-evolving product that changes what it can bring feature wise on a monthly or even weekly basis. Our job here at EITS is to stay ahead of this product and always ensure we give organizations the most accurate and up to date information as possible. If this is an area your organization struggles with or has questions on, I ask that you reach out to us through our website (https://eits.com) so we can help you make an informed decision for your organization.

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