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Six Tips for Choosing the Best UEM Solution

As the volume and variety of endpoints that connect to enterprise networks grows, organizations are struggling to consistently manage and protect not only the endpoints themselves, but also the sensitive data moving across them. It's not a lack of endpoint management or protection options that's holding them back—in fact, it's quite the opposite.

Every new scenario and device type introduce a new class of point-products. Some of them manage configurations, others detect threats, still others monitor activity. It often feels like a coin flip as to whether each of these specialized products will reliably work across all types of mobile devices, IoT devices, and workstations, regardless of who owns them.

According to the Aberdeen Group, the typical organization today contends with a median of 29 different point-products and spends a median of 48% of their annual IT operating expense just on managing and protecting their endpoints. Projections show that among small and mid-size enterprises, there's an expected gain of between 19%-20% in the next 12 months. And among the cohort of larger enterprises that have already invested considerably in UEM, there's still runway for 11% growth.

While the benefits of each of the point-products are valuable, when managed in aggregate they end up becoming incredibly complex. Not only is the approach of cobbling together a patchwork of endpoint management and protection products financially expensive, it's also costing IT and security organizations much aggravation.

Enterprise administrators don't want to navigate a dozen different consoles to manage and maintain policies across their entire endpoint user base. They need the controls to be streamlined.

The Unified Endpoint Management Advantage

That's precisely why the category of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) has gained so much traction in recent years, with significant growth projected in 2020 and beyond. If your organization is among those planning a UEM deployment soon, here's what you should keep in mind as you make your decision:

1. Look to Maximize Admin UX

The "unified" moniker in UEM is the magic word here, as administrators need one common platform for managing users, devices, applications, and access policies. A UEM solution should enable admins to easily manage all users, groups, applications and content policies from the single console for efficient, consistent enforcement of IT standards across users and groups.

A UEM should also simplify the separation of enterprise data and personal data on the device, either through separate workspaces or containers. Containerization should be offered in several ways depending on the device operating system and security requirements to allow an organization to avoid legal complications by establishing a clear separation between employees’ private content and sensitive business data.

2. Make Mobile Protection and Controls Non-Negotiable

The growth and impact of smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and other connected devices, paired with the always-on nature of cloud connectivity, has completely rejiggered user expectations for how they connect to the network.

To keep up with these expectations, enterprises need a UEM platform that can capably encrypt data on these devices, manage applications they install, protect the device, and control how they connect to the network—no matter what kind of device it is or who owns it.

Regulated environments also commonly require auditing of all device communications across SMS, MMS, and call logging to enable key corporate-liable use cases. Compliance violation notification capabilities provide organizations with more flexibility when configuring compliance rules and actions. 

3. Check Up on Cybersecurity Mechanisms Under the Hood

Management and administrative capabilities are crucial, but your UEM vendor also needs the cybersecurity chops to capably detect new threats and exploits, remediate vulnerabilities, and enforce security policies for the device and the enterprise data that resides on the device or moves across it.

Organizations should be seeking solutions with a good pedigree in cybersecurity to back up their protection claims. A UEM solution should provide the capability to block malware infections, prevent URL phishing attacks and provide application integrity checking so your organization can be assured endpoints are protected from zero-day threats.

4. Seek Solutions that Respect Your Users

UEM is all about improving visibility and control across an entire portfolio of endpoint devices. But organizations must ensure that the platform they choose respects the privacy of users and offers them appropriate control over their own personal devices, apps, and data.

When employees can use their preferred device for work, the result can be increased satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. A cross-platform solution that supports all devices can provide employees with the flexibility they seek without compromising on employee privacy.

5. Facilitate Zero Trust Through Adaptive Access Controls

The best UEM platforms should be able to help organizations practically adhere to the principles of Zero Trust principles through adaptive access controls. This means that device access to sensitive parts of the network are conditional, based on real-time assessment of risk factors like device identity and risk posture, user behaviors, and contextual data like geolocation and time of day.

A Zero Trust security environment is focused on earning trust across any endpoint—including desktops, mobile, servers and IoT—by continuously validating that trust at every event or transaction. Authenticating users to deliver a Zero Trust experience improves security with no user interruption by applying strong security AI and analytics to deliver a zero touch experience.

6. Keep Your Deployment Options Open

It should go without saying, but organizations should be able to tap into all of these features with whatever deployment model works for their specific requirements for control, cost, and scale. BlackBerry recently announced the availability of BlackBerry Spark® Suites, a set of comprehensive solutions that offer enterprises a range of tailored security and endpoint management options that minimize risk, reduce security costs, and overcome complexity.

BlackBerry Spark Suites combine the best of endpoint security and management capabilities powered by artificial intelligence automation, and include the following options:

The BlackBerry Spark UES® Suite delivers a full set of endpoint security capabilities, including AI-driven user and entity behavior analytics, next-generation Mobile Threat Defense, Endpoint Protection, as well as Endpoint Detection and Response. Data Loss Prevention and a Secure Internet Gateway will be added to this suite in the near future.

The BlackBerry Spark® UEM Suite provides a highly secure way to manage and secure devices and applications, including secure interoperability with Microsoft® Office 365® mobile apps. It also offers a full set of endpoint management capabilities, Digital Rights Management, Identity and Access Management, SDK/custom apps, multi-channel notifications and regulated controls. A streamlined option of this offering is also available in the BlackBerry Spark® UEM Express Suite.

For the most comprehensive solution, BlackBerry Spark® Suite provides a one-stop-shop and the gold standard that includes features of the BlackBerry Spark UES Suite and BlackBerry Spark UEM Suite and supports all device types and ownership models. It’s built to enable a Zero Trust security environment and is focused on earning trust across any endpoint and continuously validating that trust at every event or transaction. For more information on the BlackBerry Spark Suites and the advantages of a Zero Trust, zero touch security model, please contact us.

A convenient side-by-side comparison of all of the BlackBerry Spark Suites can be found here.

The exponential growth in endpoints—and the threats that target them—require organizations to take another look at how their administrators manage and secure devices connecting to their network. When chosen wisely, UEM can prove invaluable in this process.

Nigel Thompson

About Nigel Thompson

Nigel Thompson is VP Product Marketing at BlackBerry