What is Unified Endpoint Management?
I've recently spent the last couple of weeks talking about Micro Focus’ vision and strategy for the ZENworks product portfolio to a number of customers and partners. In a nutshell, the vision is for ZENworks to be an easy-to-use, Unified Endpoint Management solution with strong self-service and application management capabilities, provided in an identity centric, location aware fashion. My strategic objective for the portfolio over the next three years is to ensure that ZENworks is a leader in the emerging Unified Endpoint Management market.
To be sure that we're all on the same page about this vision and strategy, I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what Unified Endpoint Management means to us. The notion of Unified Endpoint Management truly isn't new, but rather an evolution of two markets that have been on a collision course for some time. These include:
- PC Lifecycle / Client Management. This is the market where ZENworks has typically been the strongest. It is the market that deals with managing traditional devices such as Windows and OS-X desktops and laptops. This also includes newer form factors such as the wildly popular Microsoft Surface Pro series. These tools manage the full-featured desktop operating systems. In most cases PC Lifecycle Management tools have been used by companies to manage PCs that they own; as such, capabilities like OS deployment, full disk encryption, application control policies, and other restricted device policies have become important. Finally, technologies such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Thin Client access solutions such as Citrix XenApp must also be considered.
- Endpoint Mobility Management. This market is predominately concerned with the management of mobile phones and tablet computing devices. Typically these devices run iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Tizen, etc. In many cases these devices are owned by the employee, but are accessing corporate data. This means that not only do you need capabilities to protect the device but also the data that the user might be accessing on the device, which has led to the popularity of container type security solutions.
At the same time there are trends in the market such as end-users' expectations that they will be able to just install an app from an app store and they can get their work done. Users want easy, self-service ways to get what they need without needing to talk to IT. Through many hard lessons IT has learned that if the can't or won't deliver the required service, then the user will find another way to get it done. For instance, in the mobile file access space the explosion of tools like Dropbox, means that if users can't get a supported solution for file sharing and sync, then they will just place their files elsewhere. This means that it is critical for IT to be able to provide easy to access services, and necessary security requirements and controls required by their organization.
Finally the Internet of Things is exploding and the number of new devices that need to be discovered, and potentially managed, is expanding every day. New sensors and devices, like Raspberry Pi, iBeacons and more, have led to many exciting solutions for consumers and business alike.
From my perspective a solution that provides Unified Endpoint Management must provide a uniform means of managing devices from across this disparate environment; including traditional company owned Windows desktops, employee owned mobile devices, VDI and Thin-Client devices and IoT devices. It must also do so in a manner that facilitates user interaction in a self-service, workflow driven fashion that provides the user what they need and when they need it. Finally, a Unified Endpoint Management solution must ensure that it does so in a secure manner and in an identity centric manner. While providing a uniform means of managing devices, there are unique aspects to each of these devices, operating systems, and ownership schemes and it is critical that the solution be intelligent and provides the appropriate capabilities for each of these.
Our goal in the ZENworks team is to build a solution, built on the proven technologies and management paradigm built into the ZENworks Configuration Management platform that addresses these needs. Over the coming months and years you will see each of our offerings weave more tightly together and provide new capabilities that will help us address the Unified Endpoint Management market. You will also see us start to engaged with other parts of Micro Focus to ensure that we provide tight integration with other key enabling technologies such as the Identify and Security offerings at Micro Focus. You can start to see the direction we are going by looking at the mobile management capabilities in our very early Preview release of ZENworks 2016, available now. I invite you to take a look at what we are doing and provide feedback to help us make sure that we are building the right Unified Endpoint Management solution for you.