desktop management

What is desktop management?

Desktop management is a comprehensive approach to managing all the computers within an organization. Despite its name, desktop management includes overseeing, monitoring and upgrading laptops, smartphones and IoT computing devices as well as desktop computers.

Desktop management is a component of systems management, which is the administration of all components of an organization's information systems.

Other components of systems management include network management and database management.

aspects of IT systems management
Desktop management, along with many other tasks, falls under the umbrella of systems management.

How does desktop management work?

Traditional desktop management tasks include installing and maintaining hardware and software, spam filtering and administering user permissions.

In recent years, however, security-related tasks have become an increasingly large part of desktop management for IT departments.

As a result, an increasingly large proportion of administrative resources have been devoted to security-related tasks, such as the following:

IT asset lifecycle management graphic
Asset management is one of the many tasks involved in desktop management today.

Desktop management tools

Additionally, there are a variety of desktop management solutions available to help organizations streamline the management of their assets.

  • Application management focuses on governing the allowed and denied list of apps available to use by employees on their work devices.
  • Mobile device management concentrates on managing the lifecycle of end-user devices, whether provisioned by the organization or supplied by the employee.
  • Remote desktop management software focuses on remote users and their devices. Functions include maintaining and auditing remote technology and ensuring proper antivirus and VPN programming are installed.
  • Identity and access management (IAM) monitors access permissions for authorized users, applications, devices and data. IAM also supports authentication protocols such as single sign-on (SSO), two-factor authentication (2FA) and certificate management.
IAM service components
Identity and access management is a key tool in the desktop management toolbox.

It's important to note, however, that most desktop management solutions require a desktop management interface to be installed on devices managed under the program.

What is Desktop Management Interface?

Desktop Management Interface (DMI) is a framework to centrally manage and track hardware and software elements in a system of personal computers.

The Desktop Management Task Force created DMI to automate system management and it is particularly beneficial in a network computing environment where dozens or more computers are managed.

The benefits of desktop management software

There are several benefits associated with implementing a desktop management initiative within an organization, including the following:

  • improved security as desktop management and monitoring will help to mitigate most security vulnerabilities;
  • additional security through capabilities like SSO, 2FA, encryption and more;
  • increased productivity through automation of management system processes;
  • enhanced collaboration capabilities as dispersed teams can connect and communicate through cloud-based tools in real time;
  • permission controls help eliminate unnecessary access by team members to sensitive data and systems; and
  • cost savings through the automation of repetitive, rules-based desktop management tasks.

Learn how to simplify with IT systems management tools, why systems management software has headed to cloud and how on-premises vs. SaaS tools for IT systems management stack up against each other.

This was last updated in December 2021

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