Obtaining Effective IT Control with New-Gen Endpoint Management

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Much of the responsibility to maintain business applications and the networks running them has fallen on the shoulders of a relatively new segment called endpoint management. Here's the lowdown on this important new sector.

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Enterprises of all sizes depend heavily on various business applications, and the performance of the endpoints and networks on which they run is equally important. In fact, anything less than 100 percent availability for business apps is largely seen as failure.

In recent years, much of the responsibility to maintain business applications and the networks running them has fallen on the shoulders of a relatively new segment called endpoint management. Using this type of automation, IT departments can efficiently--and more importantly, remotely--monitor their organization’s IT assets. Plus, they can also provide necessary user desktop management and alerting functions.

But as IT environments become more complex, application demand is severely taxing service-delivery cost structures. Recent research shows almost half (45 percent) of SMBs and midsize companies suffered between two and four outages last year. The consequence is more demand for technician productivity and efficiency, which thankfully can be achieved through expanded automation, network uptime and improved IT documentation.

This eWEEK Data Points article uses industry information from Kaseya Chief Product Officer Paul Farr, who explains that “a generational leap is needed in endpoint and network management”—a trend which would usher in a real need for next-gen endpoint management. Following are the steps Farr believes IT needs to take in order to achieve the new device management necessary for 21st-century IT organizations to succeed.

Data Point No. 1: Understand the importance of, and investment in, a single-interface view into performance.

The advantages of having a single interface/dashboard to holistically view all remote systems go far beyond tracking and monitoring an organization’s health. Reporting dashboards have long been used in business intelligence to summarize information into instantly digestible analytics, providing at-a-glance visibility into business performance. They also foster a winning culture of continuous improvements, provide data transparency throughout the organization and save time and money spent on reporting. Using a single dashboard to manage and track all critical remote services amplifies efficiencies.

Data Point No. 2: Keep endpoint and network management comprehensive and unified.

Deep access to endpoint and infrastructure data empowers technicians to auto-remediate or remotely access the entire environment, as well as correlate both endpoint and network events to quickly identify root causes behind issues. A natively integrated endpoint and network management solution reduces the cost of licensing separate solutions, along with the associated headache of managing multiple vendor relationships.

Data Point No. 3: Extensible automation is the key, so embrace it.

Any routine task that IT can automate greatly benefits both internal applications and end users. Automating routine checks and tasks not only helps to free up time and increase efficiency, it also supports more consistent and proactive service. With extensible automation, IT can leverage and contribute to a library of automated procedures to address common issues, such as reboots, disk cleanup, service restarts or clearing registry problems. And when it comes to security, policy-driven “best practice” automation templates ensure that all endpoints are secure and consistently updated to provide the highest threat protection possible. The power behind a collaborative automation library is priceless, and IT admins will reap the benefits of this collective knowledge base. 

Data Point No. 4: Comprehensive, integrated documentation is critical.

The integration of comprehensive IT documentation and standard operating procedures means knowledge bases, historical data of support interactions and support manuals for every facet of an IT infrastructure can be kept up-to-date and instantly accessed with very little manual work. Such a solution automatically keeps track of assets and devices and supports relationship mapping that links applications to licenses, usernames and passwords. It also outlines a business’ organizational structure, providing insight into what assets and systems are tied to each department and role.

Data Point No. 5: Deploy a scalable, open architecture.

For today’s modern applications, the ability to scale resources up or down to match increased workloads is critical. Equally as important is the ability to empower IT to leverage best-in-class products that meet their needs through an open architecture. Few, if any, organizations buy all their IT assets from a single vendor. By enabling and facilitating choice, IT teams can drive greater efficiencies with the headaches of trying to operate within a closed environment. 

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