October 27, 2023 By Madalina Barbu 3 min read

It is a new day for James, a new IT administrator. Today, he has to figure out an order for a whole batch of mobile devices for his colleagues, who have chosen both iOS and Android smartphones. He needs to activate the device lifecycle program and do all the deployment and endpoint security tasks afterward. Most probably, in another tool. He also knows that Rich from Sales and Alyssa from Finance will leave the company on Friday, so he needs to wipe the devices. One is under the BYOD program and the other is company-owned, and everything needs to be done as soon as possible. Can’t he use only one management tool?

Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) is a technology that provides one single platform to manage and protect all types of devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops and IoT, running multiple types of operating systems from one single console throughout their lifecycle. UEM solutions include previous technologies such as MDM (Mobile Device Management), EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management), MAM (Mobile Application Management) and laptop management. Using UEM tools, James will manage both personal devices and corporate devices and include content management capabilities and cybersecurity capabilities such as security policies, authentication and identity and access management, data security and data protection, patch management, threat detection and response, and many more.

Device lifecycle is the process of managing end-to-end all the devices in a company, from the moment they leave the provider to the moment they are sunset by the IT teams in an organization. They can be Apple devices, Android devices, IoT devices, macOS, laptops or desktops running Microsoft Windows, purpose-built devices, and many more. James and other IT admins would need to make sure he does the device enrollment, maintains them, service when there is the need, retire them or repurpose them according to his company’s policies and end users’ actions.

Top 5 commonalities:

UEM and device lifecycle management share several commonalities, as they both play essential roles in the management and optimization of endpoints within an organization. Here are five of the most common aspects they share:

  1. Device Inventory: UEM tools and device lifecycle management processes include inventories where IT Admins have real-time access to detailed information about each endpoint. For example the device model, the specifications, the owner and more.
  2. Security and Compliance: Both UEM technologies and device lifecycle management are in line with security and compliance regulations. With UEM, IT teams make sure that devices are protected, have the patches they need and are in sync with compliance policies. By managing device lifecycle processes, IT departments make sure the endpoints are decommissioned, avoiding the loss of sensitive data and reducing security risks.
  3. Configuration Management: IT administrators use UEM to configure endpoints and manage them during their usage. With device lifecycle, James and his colleagues configure endpoints during procurement and provisioning.
  4. Integrations and automation: Both UEM and device lifecycle management integrate with other apps and have a lot of automated features that can streamline IT team’s efforts. The modern UEM tools and lifecycle processes offer IT admins a lot of self-service opportunities, due to a high degree of automation of tasks.
  5. Reporting and Analytics: Both UEM and device lifecycle management have rich reporting and analytics capabilities. UEM provides real-time data on the endpoints, patches and updates, user security and device security, while device lifecycle management offers data on the device lifecycle and usage, helping decision-makers with take action on budgets. Both generate valuable data used in audits.

UEM and device lifecycle management have a lot in common and when done properly they protect corporate data, ensure a great user experience, enhance mobile security and cybersecurity overall, and create a great digital workspace. They also differ in terms of purposes: UEM focuses on managing devices throughout their life, while device lifecycle management focuses on the entire lifecycle, from the day they are purchased till they are sunset.

IBM Security MaaS360 is a modern, advanced UEM platform that offers one single console to manage types of endpoints from smartphones to laptops and protects them with built-in threat management capabilities. This way, IT teams can be both efficient and effective and keep the total cost of ownership under control.

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