Organisations of all types and sizes are bringing vast numbers of devices into their IT infrastructure and networks. Moreover, these days, these devices are not only smartphones, wearables and tablets, because the Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing a slew of new devices entering the business arena.

Rezelde Botha, business unit manager for Citrix at Axiz, says the complexity is growing, as each new device type that is entering the organisation needs to be managed, and traditional device management software simply isn’t up to the task.

She says this was becoming even more of a problem, as today’s employees are not office-bound. “Workers are on the move. Some work from remote offices, others at home or while travelling, and this is forcing the workplace to evolve. As IT moves away from desktops in offices to roaming laptops, tablets, and smartphones, many businesses are finding the tools they once depended on are no longer adequate.

“This is where unified endpoint management (UEM) comes in,” she says. “UEM is a fairly new technology that aims to deliver a single solution to manage all endpoints within the business infrastructure. The benefits are clear – by consolidating management of all endpoints into a single unified platform, the IT department can more easily keep track of the devices within their infrastructure, irrespective of where they are.”

In the past, businesses had to depend on separate client management tools (CMT) and endpoint management (EMM) solutions to deal with their endpoint infrastructure, says Botha. And because CMT and EMM tools work in dramatically different ways, they usually need a whole different set of employees and training to manage each solution.

“Today, UEM unites the capabilities of CMT and EMM in one, total solution, enabling IT to simply secure and manage applications, data, and operating systems across the entire organisation,” she adds.

Managing all devices from a single solutions makes far better sense, Botha explains. “Firstly, it is more cost-effective to allocate budget to one management tool instead of several tools, and it dramatically boosts operational savings by lowering the number of human resources needed, as well as the training costs associated with those staff. This also means that human resources can be allocated to where they can make a real difference to the business.”

Moreover, she says you cannot guarantee user productivity and data protection unless you have consistency across management, security, and usability. “Even the tiniest, unintentional differences in management or security policies can leave gaps in the organisation’s infrastructure that enables attackers to slip through the security net and plant malware on the network.”

Implementing a consistent policy makes it far easier to pinpoint, fix and keep an eye on any possible chinks in the security armour. “Having consistency in terms of users being able to access the information and applications they need, regardless of where they are located, is also essential for productivity.”

Citrix’s UEM solution, Citrix Endpoint Management (CEM), is the modern way for any business to secure and manage its devices. “It delivers seamless and secure user access to applications and files on any device, and while giving the IT department the power it needs to manage desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets across iOS, Android, Windows, Chrome OS, and MacOS platforms.”

CEM also offers both on-premise as well as cloud deployment models. “Irrespective of which model a customer chooses, Citrix works really hard to ensure that its footprint and, alongside it, the total cost of ownership in its customers’ data centres is kept to a minimum, using the fewest possible number of servers or firewall configuration changes.”

She says this offers several benefits, including a lower cost of SSL certs, as there is no cost for Windows licenses. “There is also no cost of server hardening or anti-virus, and no need for a third-party CA or VPN provider. Citrix also estimates that the on-premise total cost of ownership for its closest competitor’s offering is over three times that of CEM, because of the number of windows-based servers that are needed, and the fact that the other offering can’t boast the benefits I just mentioned.”

Remember, businesses don’t usually use UEM in isolation. “Businesses tend to have a solution for managing virtual applications and desktops, and one for managing the enterprise data. This means a holistic approach, where IT can reduce the time and effort needed to provision applications, desktops and files to their end-users from a single administration console, is the way forward, and that’s exactly what CEM offers.”