“How can the cloud help IT departments with endpoint management?” This question, asked by somebody in the audience last week at the CloudConnect event in Santa Clara, CA, captured my attention, as much as the reply by one of the speakers, who predicted in reference to the 2020 timeframe that the talk was about, that IT departments will move out of endpoint management. Now as I am admittedly in this field for a long time, I have an opinion here.
I would not back the statement totally as I explain below, but the general direction is clear: Of course they will move out. What else would be the point about centralization, server-based-computing, virtual desktops, or the public cloud with an emerging market for hosted virtual desktops? Think of Desktone – www.desktone.com. But we don’t even need the public cloud to think about that statement. It works the same way with a pre-cloud terminal server scenario.
Essentially what we do at Stratodesk is selling an endpoint management tool that helps people get out of endpoint management. No, this is not self-contradictory. Let me explain: Nobody can expect that endpoints magically vanish from the CIO’s agenda but the functionality still being present – we can not expect Jane and Joe Officeworker to suddenly become Silicon-Valley-type geeks that manage their own Macbooks and iPads. Even in an ideal BYOD (bring your own device) world who cares about connectivity to the corporate datacenter, who is responsible for the productivity loss if a user-owned device fails etc?
Most probably CIOs will have to make purchase decisions, manage procurement and life-cycle of such devices even in a brave, new BYOD world. Yes I can imagine labor unions organize buying self-owned devices via GroupOn. No I can not imagine Bank Of America abolishing their endpoint IT department and telling employees to either buy their own devices or lose their job.
That means, there will always be a space where corporations will have to take care for endpoints. What IT departments do not want to do is to keep up with OS administration, updates, hotfixes, local apps, antivirus, monitoring, compliance check, inventory, upgrade eligibility. The local app part is solved by Server Based Computing or VDI in general. All others are not. That’s the space I have positioned Stratodesk in, that’s what we are solving, today, here and now. I don’t want to repeat myself on this…
Putting things together, I conclude that an IT department can get out of endpoint management today, to the absolute same extent it will be able to get out of endpoint management in 2020:
- Switch to SBC/VDI
- Get rid of endpoint Windows sooner than later
- Get a minimal, specialized platform that makes you not having to touch the endpoints – no pun intended – and allows to comfortably centrally control the endpoint landscape with minimal effort
- Have a strategy how to access user-owned devices (can be trivial, or complex, depending on security and availability requirements)
What stays in terms of endpoint management is not comparable to what people understand today as “endpoint management”, it’s not even a shadow of its former self, for sure something IT departments are comfortable with. Now, why wait for 2020? It’s here…
Founder & CEO