ManageEngine Desktop Central Review

by Jones David

Desktop Central is ManageEngine’s unified endpoint management (UEM) solution for managing and securing your enterprise devices from a single dashboard.

It offers a wide range of endpoint management features including automated patching, software deployment, remote control of desktops, asset monitoring, software license monitoring, software and USB device usage monitoring, and much more.

Desktop Central’ offers a security add-on that tightly integrates with the above-mentioned management features, offering vulnerability management, browser security, application and device control, and BitLocker encryption.

Desktop Central supports Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, tvOS, and Chrome OS platforms.

 Setting up Desktop Central 

Desktop Central is available in two versions: on-premises and cloud. Both versions offer a free, 30-day trial during which you can manage unlimited endpoints for free.

To use the on-premises version, you’ll download and extract a ZIP file and run the setup (BAT) file as an administrator.

For the Cloud version, all you need is an email ID to get up and running. Desktop Central Cloud also supports SSO (single sign-on), allowing you to sign in via your Google, Microsoft, Linkedin, or other accounts.

Once you’ve downloaded Desktop Central (for on-premises users) or have signed in (for cloud users), the first thing you need to do is add devices you’d like to manage by installing agents in the end-user machines. This agent is a lightweight application that resides in the machine and carries out various on-demand tasks like patching and managing inventory that you can carry out from the Desktop Central console.

 Desktop Central’s patching capabilities

With Desktop Central’s patch management module, you can automate patch management for operating systems including Windows, macOS, and Linux along with third-party applications. You can also schedule patch deployment in just a few clicks.  With periodic scanning and up-to-date databases, Desktop Central is a must-have patch management tool for any organization.

Automatic updates can be disabled if you want complete authority over updates. Similarly, if patches are found to be unstable during testing, you can decline these patches as well. With Desktop Central’s test and deploy feature, you can check patches in a test group and then schedule them for deployment in the rest of the systems if the patches prove stable during testing.

With Desktop Central’s System Health Policy, you can view the status of the overall health of your systems. Based on the nature of missing patches in a system, devices are categorized into different groups based on their severity: healthy, critical, and highly critical systems.

 Desktop Central’s software deployment 

Desktop Central has built-in predefined templates for deploying software. All you have to do is choose a template, create a software package, and deploy the package to the required computers. With the auto-update feature, all your software will always be kept up to date with the latest versions automatically. The software can also be uninstalled remotely from a central location for a target group of computers defined when creating the configuration.

With detailed reports post-deployment, it’s easy to monitor the endpoints in your network. You can also deploy user-requested applications with the self-service portal feature, and software packages, once created, can be stored in a software repository for use later on.

 Desktop Central’s inventory management 

Desktop Central offers inventory management for managing IT assets—both software and hardware assets—in an office network. This eliminates uncertainty around the license expirations and software inventories. Desktop Central also offers information on computers with expired warranties or with warranties that are about to expire.

Using Desktop Central’s software metering feature, you can see how effectively software is used, including how often it’s used, how many people use it, and how long it’s used. This makes it easy when deciding which endpoint to revoke a license from. It also helps with software audits and avoiding enormous fines for under-licensed software.

Desktop Central helps keep licensed software in check by dividing the systems in a network into three categories: In Compliance, Under Licensed, and Over Licensed. Admins can revoke software licenses from machines that aren’t using them and give them to other machines that need these licenses, which is a cost-effective way to maintain compliance without purchasing any new licenses.

 Desktop Central’s remote control features 

With Desktop Central’s remote desktop sharing capabilities, you can establish remote connections, and endpoints in a WAN or a LAN can be controlled seamlessly. This is entirely web-based and does not require any third-party applications. Prompt users to request access before connecting remotely to ensure user privacy. 

After connecting, files can be shared and accessed using the ActiveX and Java viewers. Desktop Central also supports multiple monitors when using the remote control for effective troubleshooting. With an integrated chat option, queries can be resolved on the spot. There is also an option to record the remote session, which can be viewed by the administrators for auditing purposes.

 Desktop Central’s endpoint security features 

Desktop Central offers five add-on security features: vulnerability management, application control, device control, browser security, and BitLocker encryption. These can be implemented individually or in a bundle.

Vulnerability management helps you fortify your organization from threats that can’t be fixed using conventional patch management. This includes scanning endpoints for vulnerabilities, assessing their threat level, and patching them regularly. It also helps you prevent zero-day vulnerabilities by employing alternate fixes before patches are available.

Device control is crucial when you want to control the connections of external devices like USB drives to end-user machines, helping you prevent data leaks.

Using Desktop Central’s application control features, you can create lists of approved and denied apps and software. This way, you can enable or prohibit your end-users from installing particular apps.

Browser security lets you manage and secure end-user browsers across networks and remote offices. You can keep tabs on browser usage trends, prohibit suspicious browser extensions and plug-ins, initiate a remote lockdown of user browsers, and ensure your organization complies with the required browser security standards.

 Desktop Central highlights  

  • Set up is quick, easy, and seamless (especially in the cloud version).
  • The technical expertise required to operate this solution is lower than similar solutions.
  • Keep tabs on the management and security aspects of your endpoints from a single web console or dashboard.
  • Install agents

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