User environment management (UEM) is a technology designed to manage a user's complete desktop experience.
User environment management software allows IT administrators to control all of the settings, personas, access controls and more that are unique to each user on their Windows desktops. This includes aspects such as display, folder and application settings. UEM also typically offers a GUI for IT control permissions on multiple levels, from the individual user to groups or departments to specific applications. More recent developments in desktop virtualization have increased the need for UEM tools to control security policies, advanced permissions such as geolocation, dual user access and more.
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In the past, IT for the most part managed roaming Windows profiles, which allowed for a central file sharing system to hold the information of a user's profile and policies -- or user environment -- without downloading multiple profiles onto one hard drive. Management over these profiles and policies became more complicated as companies grew in the number of profiles it used. This made room in the industry for third-party profile management vendors, and the term user environment management took over for profile management around 2007.
UEM software pulls out the policies, data and settings from the operating system and applications that are centrally managed, and stores them to an individual user profile. This process creates a personalized environment for each person when they access their desktop – whether it is virtual or not. Some UEM features can be a delivered by basic Windows features, but that usually forces IT administrators to use many management consoles. IT administrators can also use the data from UEM analytics to better adapt desktops to fit users' needs.
Citrix acquired Norskale to ramp up UEM on XenDesktop and XenApp, and renamed the software Workspace Environment Management. VMware bought Immidio and RTO software, changing Immidio to VMware User Environment Manager. Finally, Microsoft has UE-V. Liquidware Labs, AppiXoft's Scense Workspace Management and Ivanti (formerly LANDesk) with AppSense are a few of the third-party vendors.