Tanium aims to be first with autonomous endpoint management

The new term 'autonomous endpoint management' aims to offer IT teams AI-driven automation that can improve employee experience and simplify device administration.

Just when we were coming to terms with what digital employee experience means -- not to mention how to take advantage of it -- we have a new term to contend with. But this one is a bit easier to understand: autonomous endpoint management, or AEM.

I'll credit Gartner for the term, which is essentially the combination of unified endpoint management, digital employee experience and AI -- plus farther-reaching integrations down the road. The credit for the first mainstream mention of AEM by a vendor, however, belongs to Tanium.

While others such as ManageEngine and Adaptiva have briefly mentioned the term, Tanium put AEM front and center at its Converge event a few weeks ago as the direction that its XEM platform -- which stands for converged endpoint management -- is heading.

What is autonomous endpoint management (AEM)?

The goals behind AEM are lofty: fully autonomous endpoint management, security, incident response, patching, change management and performance monitoring leveraging all the capabilities we have today in these areas. These concepts are coupled with machine learning, AI, and crowd-sourced and tested remediations.

That's a mouthful when you think about all the tools we have deployed in our environments today. Data from TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group indicated that two-thirds of organizations use more than 10 endpoint management and security tools. Coupled with the accelerating usage of AI in organizations, stitching all those capabilities together seems like more of an eventuality than a dream. With IT resources spread thinly over many high-profile initiatives, offloading some of the more mundane, repetitive elements of the job to an automated system can be just what's needed to help dedicate more resources to other organizational priorities.

Sounds great, but…

The idea of a fully autonomous system that's completely in tune with end-user experience, endpoint management and security sounds amazing and is certainly a worthwhile direction to point the car. However, the idea of turning over the keys and taking our hands off the wheel is just too much to swallow for some. Of the people -- both practitioners and vendors -- I've spoken to about the concept, the consensus is that they're interested but hesitant due to the unknown implications of automated detection and resolution of problems.

Tanium aims to address this by giving full visibility into the playbooks and workflows behind the automation. The vendor even allows for an air gap that would enable the system to detect and propose resolutions but stop short of deploying them until the suggested resolution has been reviewed and/or tested. This approach lets organizations get familiar with the tech and build up trust, while also helping Tanium refine its product. In a way, we'll all grow toward AEM together.

The bigger picture

AEM is just one of the many things that Tanium leaders talked about at Converge. Though I won't pretend to be a security or compliance person, they spent a lot of time talking about their capabilities in those areas. What's interesting is that few people seem to rely solely on Tanium to manage and secure their environments. Instead, they rely on one or more of Tanium's 17 different modules to fill the gaps.

Tanium has leaned into this role as the glue that fills the gaps and bonds things together. There might be opportunities to consolidate tools, but there's no need to rip and replace to get started.

Tanium has leaned into this role as the glue that fills the gaps and bonds things together. There might be opportunities to consolidate tools, but there's no need to rip and replace to get started. To that end, it has focused on partnerships with other vendors that are core to its customers, such as ServiceNow and Microsoft. These partnerships have led to features that further help customers streamline operations, such as seamless incident response and ticketing integration with ServiceNow, or integration with Microsoft Security Copilot.

By now you can tell there's a lot more to Tanium than AEM, but as a first-time end-user computing-oriented attendee, my key takeaway is that it sees AEM as the future. It's weaving it in among all the other things that it does. How will other vendors react, and just how hot will AEM be in 2024? I can't wait to find out.

Gabe Knuth is the senior end user computing analyst for TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. He writes publicly for TechTarget in addition to his analyst work. If you'd like to reach out, see his profile on LinkedIn or send an email to [email protected].

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget. Its analysts have business relationships with technology vendors.

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