You hear a lot about endpoint management these days. How do you define endpoint management and how does it differ from desktop virtualization?
JA:Endpoint management complements VDI. People often think that endpoint management competes with Citrix or VMware when, in fact, it manages the devices that are the vehicles to deliver desktop and application virtualization. This is done best when you can deliver a granular, policy-driven approach that allows enterprises to really scale effectively. At IGEL, this is a key differentiator. We build our operating system to account for all the different peripherals, use cases, and applications customers want to virtualize. So, as VDI evolves, we can stay in sync and be manageable. That flexibility is a key differentiator.
Why is endpoint management gaining in popularity?
JA:I’d say there are three main factors driving adoption of endpoint management solutions. The increasing concern about security risk is driving CIOs to think more about better management at the endpoint. The endpoint is the biggest and most vulnerable attack vector. Secondly, the bring-your-own device, mobile phenomenon creates a critical need for controlling what workers are accessing and doing on all these devices. And thirdly, the typical enterprise infrastructure now is so complex, and made up of so many disparate tools and licenses, that effective endpoint management is imperative. What we do is manage these devices to simplify the infrastructure and create a consistent user experience. We enable users to choose their device, at the same time giving IT greatly improved endpoint security.
What types of organizations are the biggest adopters of endpoint management as a key part of their IT strategy?
JA:Highly regulated organizations are seeking endpoint management to mitigate risk and further ensure compliance. The healthcare, financial, education, public and retail sectors are deploying endpoint management software to gain greater control over application use by their mobile and distributed workforce. They need to allow users access to files and apps to be fully productive but also need access controls to prevent unauthorized use. There’s no margin for error today when it comes to protecting personal data.
How does endpoint management software improve ROI at these organizations?
JA:Endpoint management enables organizations to get off the hamster wheel of new hardware investments. Many customers tell us every three years they have to turn over all their hardware because they have to chase the next operating system, which of course requires ever-increasing amounts of processing power. Using endpoint management technology, organizations have a secure, manageable solution that provides a consistent user experience on the edge. It can even be put on existing hardware, extending the life of legacy devices and making it possible to use collaboration technology and other current applications. Another ROI advantage is that you can reduce headcount because you don’t need nearly as many people to manage these solutions with a profile-based approach. You just don’t have nearly as much management as you do with Windows.
Do endpoint management solutions pose any security risks or provide any security advantages?
JA:The endpoint is an opportunity for cyber attacks through users opening emails and introducing malware into the system. Secure endpoint management is the solution. IGEL partners with more than a dozen security vendors to provide the most advanced authentication controls on all IGEL powered endpoints. We support secure data transmission both inside and outside of corporate networks, and our IGEL OS helps companies protect themselves against data loss and malware attacks using tools such as DriveLock.
What are some benefits to a cloud-based endpoint management solution?
JA:Amazon, Azure and our partners are driving endpoint management to an as-a-service model. As organizations move deeper into virtualization and the cloud, an OPEX model makes sense. We’re working with our partners now to deliver this as-a-service endpoint management solution. A key part of delivering this new model is our Cloud Gateway, which provides a dedicated virtual tunnel for the transparent and secure management of IGEL OS-powered endpoints, including hardware converted by IGEL’s Universal Desktop Converter.
What questions should organizations ask and what steps should they take before shifting to an endpoint management platform?
JA:CIOs and IT need to look at their overall virtualization environment and see where the bottlenecks are in terms of productivity, whether their existing devices are doing the job users want in terms of technology access, and how they can control budget and bring the organization to a leaner, more efficient, more secure virtualized environment. What IGEL offers is simplicity, a means of eliminating the chaos of these environments, and delivering the software applications users want. It’s a very scalable, elegant way for people to manage endpoints versus the chaos of many tools and trying to script things, and multiple operating systems. In terms of steps to take, after assessing existing assets, really think through your current environment and work with a solution provider to devise an endpoint management plan; then proceed!
Do you foresee endpoint management playing a role in addressing the Internet of Things (IoT) explosion?
JA:IoT is this idea that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by as early as 2020. There are a staggering number of devices that are going onto the network every single day right now and as we head towards 50 billion, the endpoint management, security and visibility aspects of computing become even more important. We feel we have the DNA for this device explosion since we have a management platform that is scalable, light and secure.