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IT muses pros and cons of unified endpoint management

BOSTON — Long gone are the days when users worked solely from one PC on a desk in the office. Employees today are on the move, and they work from multiple devices as they go.

This trend is great for users, but not so fun for IT. Attempting to manage so many different devices — and their data — has brought migraines to administrators.

One technology that aims to ease the pain is unified endpoint management (UEM), which allows IT to oversee and control any device from the same console. IT can create and enforce policies across desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

Organizations have been slow to pick up UEM, however, because many already have management software in place for existing devices. UEM also only works with Windows 10, which has also delayed enterprise adoption.

“There’s a lot to UEM, and I think that’s what’s confusing,” said Monroe Horn, CTO of Sunstein Kann Murphy and Timbers, a law firm in Boston.

Horn’s business uses BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite for UEM but is looking into other options once the current license is up, he said.

“For us [UEM has] been a pretty big learning curve,” Horn added. “How UEM for … Windows 10 fits in for everything we are already using for managing Windows at the desktop is a big question. Will it add another layer of complexity?”

Horn and other attendees here at the Boston VMware User Group UserCon learned more about one option for unified endpoint management, VMware’s AirWatch, in a session. The product integrates with traditional desktop management software and offers security features such as encryption, patch management and remote wipe, said Brandon Mendonca, an AirWatch sales engineer.

“I was really interested how [AirWatch gives] a wide range of ability of control, from putting a container on a personal phone to locking down corporate assets,” Horn said.