IBM announced the availability of a new cognitive assistant that leverages the capabilities of IBM Watson to help IT professionals more effectively manage and protect networks of smartphones, tablets, laptops, IoT devices and other endpoints. The MaaS360 Advisor will use machine learning to analyze devices on the network and recommend policies, patches and customized best practices to better manageand protect them.
Now part of the IBM MaaS360 unified endpoint management (UEM) platform delivered via the IBM Cloud, the cognitive assistant addresses the challenge of managing device sprawl across businesses. With 49 percent of information that workers use on least three devices for work on a weekly basis,technology and the security teams struggle to keep devices compliant and secure. According to the recently released Mobile Vision 2020 study from IBM Security and conducted by Forrester Research, the adoption of a centralized management approach delivered via UEM solutions will increase from just 15% of organizations today to 54% by 2020.
IBM is training Watson on concepts such as device enrollment, identity management, and regulatory compliance to further refine its abilities to parse through thousands of documents for relevant insights. Watson will correlate other sources including data from the IBM X-Force Exchange on active threats like zero day vulnerabilities and malware to help protect devices from these threats. Also, actionable insights from the recently announced Mobile Metrics benchmarking toolwill give IT and security leaders’ further access to context-driven best practices specifically recommended for their environments.
Supporting these cognitive features is the ability to manage a wide variety of endpoints, including IoT devices and their device gateways, which provide access to data for IoT devices. As a result, IT managers can set policies on what IoT data can be accessed by devices within their organization for greater security. IBM MaaS360 supports many IoT-based devices today, and will continue expanding its capabilities in 2017.
A Look to the Future of Endpoints
While 91 percent of organizations report an increase in endpoint data over the last two years, these endpoints are often managed by multiple consoles and teams. This data could provide valuable insights for business efficiency, but most organizations are challenged by the difficulty of collecting information and distributing software across complex enterprise environments. The lack of cross-device visibility leads to duplication of efforts, gaps in security, and negatively impacts user experience.
With organizations under pressure to reduce the total cost of ownership for the proliferation of devices in the enterprise, most (83 percent) are addressing the problem by breaking down departmental silos with a centralized management team. Furthermore, more than 80 percentof organizations plan to implement AI/cognitive computing by 2020 to analyze the vast – and increasingly growing – volume of endpoint data they collect.
“There is enormous potential in unified endpoint management when you incorporate cognitive technology like Watson into MaaS360,” said Brian Jacome, Senior Product Manager, Enterprise Mobility at Royal Bank of Canada. “With this capability, we are able to get an in-depth feel of our device landscape instantly helping us make decisions faster as to where we need to evolve the platform.”
IBM MaaS360 Takes on Unified Endpoint Management
IBM MaaS360 is also researching how Watson’s capabilities to understand and reason from natural language could change the nature of endpoint management. For example, one project would let administrators ask MaaS360 Advisor conversational questions about their enterprise environment such as, “Show new Android tablets,” or “Show devices eligible for Windows 10 upgrade.” Supported by device analytics, actionable threat intelligence, and proactive recommendations, administrators will have a cognitive assistant to help automate the process of managing and securing an organization’s network of devices.
MaaS360 UEM supports multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows and macOS/OS X. Migrations from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will benefit even more with the ability to manage both Windows 7 and Windows 10 endpoints from a single console.
“Our investments in bringing Watson to MaaS360 are a major springboard into the Unified Endpoint Management space for IBM Security,” said Jim Brennan, Director of Strategy and Offering Management, IBM Security. “Enterprise administrators are responsible for digesting an incredible amount of data, including security vulnerabilities, privacy regulations, multiple OS and device updates, and compliance requirements. Through MaaS360 with Watson, we’re not only able to streamline and sharpen the data so administrators can stay ahead of the curve, but also transform the way they interact with their environment.”