Endpoint Management and Hybrid Work

Among the many lasting changes kicked off or accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic sits the familiar challenge of endpoint management. In the good old days, it was as simple as every team member who needed a computer got a company-owned and managed computer and very few got a company smartphone.

Now that those days are definitely gone, cybersecurity policies and professionals have to account for mobile devices and computers that may or may not be owned by the company and that can work from anywhere. Hybrid work is here to stay and that means your IT and cybersecurity practices have had or will have to evolve to meet its realities. Whatever model of the technology that’s connected to your IT infrastructure or wherever it’s connecting from, it’s an endpoint that hackers and others can use to access information and resources they shouldn’t have. On top of that, technology continues to evolve and further complicate the matter.

The main way to address endpoint security is through Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). This includes mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM), which address the growing number of mobile devices and your team’s desire to use them.

A unified approach simplifies critical activities like access authentication and profile management. When every facet of your IT infrastructure is managed through a single point, it’s easier and more streamlined to turn off a former employee’s access or ensure the new person in R&D has access to the same software as the rest of the R&D team. In other words, everyone has the tools they need to focus on their actual work and no one has tools they shouldn’t.

The key to keeping your team members and business information safe is knowing how your team is using technology and what vulnerabilities exist so that your UEM solution can address them effectively. Key features and functions to review when choosing an endpoint management solution are:

  • Endpoint security
  • Ability to integrate with other IT products, including custom products
  • Remote support
  • Conditional access
  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) acuity
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Analytics and business intelligence insights
  • Pricing and pricing transparency
  • Single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication
  • Ability to separate personal and business information and apps on a single device

IT and cybersecurity professionals face a number of new challenges when people can work from the firewall-enabled company network or a laptop in a van on satellite internet or on a home network where the kids are playing online video games all day and the thermostat communicates with an employee’s smartphone. Here are just a few challenges to consider.

  1. Help desk support for hybrid work: When someone calls the help desk from a remote beach or their spare bedroom, there’s very little chance that the person receiving that call will be able to physically access the device. Instead, the help desk team needs to be equipped with the resources to access the device remotely and quickly. Delays due to access management are costly and, frankly, unacceptable in this day and age. Your endpoint management solution must be able to accommodate these situations so that everyone can get back to work as quickly as possible.
  2. Staying current on device status: Your cybersecurity team must be able to see the real-time status of all devices with network access. There’s no room for MIA devices that could be anywhere doing anything. Endpoint management must include tools for the team to know which devices are accessing the network, how, and what they’re doing.
  3. Regulatory compliance: As new legislation comes out, cybersecurity professionals must be informed and endpoint management solutions must keep up. If you’re outsourcing your endpoint management, confirm that your provider has a process for staying up to date and making adjustments so they’re always providing a compliant service.

Choosing an endpoint management solution or an external vendor to handle this all-important function for you, is a critical step to maintaining a secure and productive IT infrastructure. If you have any questions about how to protect your business infrastructure in the age of BYOD policies and hybrid work, please email david@platteriver.com.

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