Unified endpoint management programs take both mobile device user experience and security into account.
As with most types of information technology, when accessibility and functionality increase, so does the attack surface that criminals and adversaries attempt to exploit in social engineering and offensive security campaigns. Thus, balancing the need for interoperability, efficiency, and positive user experience while maintaining a strong security posture is the primary challenge that successful unified endpoint management (UEM) programs seek to address.
The benefits and challenges of mobile devices
Beginning in the early 2000s, the ability to use mobile technology such as cellphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices to work remotely changed the way organizations operated. Employees did not have to commute into offices to access corporate systems and resources. Instead, they could respond to emails from their kitchen, work on adjusting a presentation from their laptop at an airport gate, or even facilitate technical fieldwork from abroad.
However, it quickly became apparent that many security concerns had to be addressed. In fact, some of the earliest malware specifically targeted at mobile phones emerged in the early 2000s with the rise of relatively harmless, proof-of-concept viruses. One such virus, called “Cabir,” was a computer worm that specifically targeted Symbian OS devices (such as the Nokia 3650), and it used those infected phones to propagate to other devices via Bluetooth. While this worm in particular was fairly noninvasive, it demonstrated that mobile phones and similar devices were just as susceptible to security vulnerabilities as traditional on-premises resources. The concern that these vulnerabilities could be used by threat actors to access data became the catalyst for the creation of mobile device management programs by many organizations.