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The Importance of Unifying Mobility and Systems Management

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How to simplify device and policy management and prepare for the future

By Neal Foster


 

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Systems management has evolved into a multi-faceted solution area within the information technology landscape. The goals of systems management solutions range from basic tracking of the location and status of IT assets, to configuring and supporting these assets and setting access rights to the corporate network. But the rise of mobility and bring your own device (BYOD) in the enterprise has created new IT challenges related to security, data, policy, users and more. In many situations, a new point solution has been deployed to deal with each challenge, creating disconnects between traditional systems management and managing mobility.

Enterprise mobility management began with the need to manage corporate-issued pagers and phones. It was typically a device-centric management approach, and since IT retained complete control over the type and model of devices, who received them and what was installed on them, managing mobiles with a separate point solution did not create an undue burden. It is still common today to see organizations with different point solutions to manage each type of device: PCs separate from mobiles, shared terminals separate from user terminals, fixed devices separate from portable devices.

Over the last decade, computing technology has focused on increased accessibility. More and more mobile devices built on extensible platforms have found purpose within the enterprise, with various form factors, operating systems, applications and other capabilities. At the same time, employees now often own these devices, further complicating management. The Internet of Things (IoT) and the ability to create network-connected devices will continue this trend for decades to come, making it essential that IT professionals begin looking now for new ways to manage this complexity.

The next generation of systems management solutions will focus on a unified view of the relationships between users, the applications they use, the devices the applications are running on, the network that the applications communicate on and the data that is being accessed. Common tasks such as asset tracking, monitoring, application delivery and security enforcement will also be elevated to a unified system. A higher focus on the users and their rights, given their functional roles and the real-time context, will create an improved and more efficient method for systems management.

Take, for example, BYOD. By its very nature, BYOD is leading to an ever-growing number of devices and operating systems for IT to support. Users don’t want to be limited to the two or three devices IT would like to support; they want the latest devices with the latest operating systems and most popular styles. They also want to access all the latest apps and services. Current EMM solutions have forced IT to deploy multiple additional point solutions to manage the various elements: devices, identity and access, mobile applications, mobile content, secure enterprise workspace and real-time compliance reporting. The next generation of EMM, however, promises to eliminate the redundancy, allowing employees to use their preferred device, while reducing the IT overhead that would otherwise be required to support the evolving landscape of devices, applications, networks and data sets.

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