Desktop practices only the start of good endpoint management

Endpoint management is more than just the desktop

Endpoint management now involves more than just keeping track of desktops and the software and data on them. Admins must know how to manage desktops and mobile devices, track licensing, and maintain endpoint security.

Enterprise computing has moved back to the data center, and desktop virtualization, mobile devices and the cloud have become more popular.

That means there are a lot of moving parts for IT to track and manage. This guide can help desktop administrators tackle the big issues and ever-evolving particulars of endpoint management.

Table of contents:

Endpoint and Desktop Management

Third-party Windows desktop management software options
Admins who want to go beyond Microsoft's Windows desktop management software have tons of options. Start with a look at Desktop Central 8, Quest Software's Workspace Desktop Authority and Kaseya.

Desktop management software: different for physical and virtual environments
IT has always needed desktop management software for physical desktops. But if your organization is changing to virtual desktops, it's important to consider the differences in endpoint management between a physical environment and a virtual one.

One Windows management console to do it all?
A single Windows management console to manage everything is just an admin's dream. Until it becomes a reality, IT will have to settle for multiple dashboards, but there are tools to make handling endpoint management easier.

Multiple endpoints means multiple problems (and opportunities)
When Notorious B.I.G. said, "Mo money, mo problems," he spoke the truth, and it applies to enterprise IT today -- the more endpoints you have to deal with, the more problems you're going to run into. But multiple endpoints can present new opportunities for IT, too.

Strapped IT departments get help with desktop management from Windows Intune
Microsoft's cloud-based desktop management tool, Windows Intune, is useful for remote desktop access, patches, antivirus and software updates. It can be a great tool, but not if you need to manage mobile devices.

Enterprise desktop management: Top 5 tips of 2012 (so far)
Now that it's halfway through 2012, take a look back at the biggest enterprise desktop management topics we've covered, including endpoint management and desktop auditing.

Workload management, virtually or physically
Virtual desktop infrastructure lets admins take desktop management to the next level: Workload management. Focus on managing the right aspects of your environment with the right tools.

How to secure RDP network endpoints
Flaws in the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) can make networks and endpoints vulnerable. How can IT secure RDP in the enterprise? Expert Matt Pascucci has the details.

Windows on ARM: Challenges and benefits
Windows 8 on ARM processors will help businesses that support bring your own device (BYOD) programs manage one operating system across all devices, but that won't necessarily make an admin's job a cakewalk. The new OS just means IT will have to manage more mobile devices.

Licensing

A checklist for a successful desktop audit
There's no time like the present to start fresh on your desktop administration strategy. Regular desktop audits can ensure that your machines are running clean. Make sure you've got a good desktop audit checklist at your fingertips.

Watch out for snags in Microsoft licensing rules for BYOD
Did you know that your company could be violating Microsoft licensing rules? Make sure your software is licensed for mobile if you want to continue letting users access email and apps on their personal devices.

Licensing compliance issues arise with BYOD and mobile cloud apps
Microsoft licensing agreements don't necessarily account for users' personal mobile device or cloud app usage. If you're proactive about watching what your users are doing on their mobile devices, you can avoid licensing compliance issues.

Windows managers: where to spend your upgrade money
Gearing up for a system upgrade can be a daunting task. Where should Windows managers put their money? Our expert has some suggestions that can make the whole upgrade go more smoothly.

Security

Secure endpoints with data loss prevention software
Data loss prevention software can help with endpoint security management, which is more important today than ever -- it's so easy for hackers to pull sensitive enterprise data from mobile devices. Preventing data loss should be at the top of IT's priority list.

Mobile security affects enterprise desktop management
These days, many organizations have to contend with an increased number of mobile endpoints. You have to manage and protect them as much as -- if not more than -- your stationary endpoints. Mobile security is the new desktop security.

Full-disk encryption saves admins lost-laptop grief
When employees lose their laptops, it's a problem for IT, too. Full-disk encryption can help make sure your enterprise is compliant with data security regulations, though it's not great for laptop performance.

Use BitLocker To Go to manage client encryption
If you use Windows 7 Enterprise, you can use BitLocker and BitLocker To Go to accomplish full-disk and client encryption. Plus, it's easy to automate security with Microsoft's Group Policy settings.

Physical and virtual desktop security are not the same
Everyone knows that physical and virtual desktops aren't the same, so why try to secure them the same way? You have to secure different desktops from different threats in different ways.

Desktop patch management software features checklist
Choosing desktop patch management software can be overwhelming, so you should start by choosing the most important features, such as centralized control and extensibility.

Why Group Policy settings matter
With Microsoft's Group Policy settings in Active Directory, admins can manage user access and apps, and apply the settings to desktop and server security. But keep in mind that Group Policy settings can only do so much for endpoint management.

How to enforce endpoint security
The concept of endpoint security is fairly simple, but in practice, it poses more of a challenge. It's important for IT to make sure that every device that connects to the network is virus-free and compliant. But with so many possible endpoints, enforcing endpoint security isn't easy.

Cloud endpoint security: Look before you leap
Security and the cloud don't usually go together, but the number of cloud endpoint security options is on the rise. If your organization is looking into using cloud-based security services for endpoint management, make sure to check it out from all the angles.