Simplify Endpoint Management with Microsoft 365

remote device management

Prior to the pandemic when employees were reporting to the office every day, user laptops could be flashed and provisioned as new employees came on or rebuilt when a user’s PC failed. While this was tedious, it worked because we were physically present in the office for the work to be done.

With the emergence of cloud IT  and Microsoft 365 for small businesses -- many companies are getting rid of their office buildings altogether, giving their employees free range to work from anywhere. While other organizations are less enthused about the remote work arrangements, they're finding they have no choice but to adapt some level of hybrid remote work to retain and attract top talent. Either way, the shift to remote work is here to stay.  

So now that your employees are working from home, how do you handle the management of your remote employee laptops and devices? User device management has become a major challenge for many businesses!

First there was mobile device management (MDM), which gave organizations better visibility and control over smartphones and tablets. Then came EMM, or enterprise mobility management, which added content and corporate apps management capabilities alongside device management. The latest evolution is UEM, or unified endpoint management – which has been a major shift in how organizations can manage their growing number of devices.

What is Unified Endpoint Management?

Unified endpoint management goes beyond the operating systems, supporting desktop operating systems including macOS, Chrome OS, Windows 10 and others. This means organizations can now manage ALL devices, including laptops in a single platform, just as they have managed mobile devices.

To put it simply, UEM works under the premise that the desktop has also become a mobile device and must be managed in a similar way. Similar to mobile device management, laptops are given a code that set parameters for how each device is used and tracked.

UEM not only helps manage the devices in a single platform, but it brings in a wide range of security features to keep your user devices protected. It provides visibility into what people are doing with corporate data, corporate apps, on any conceivable type of device. Rather than the devices being handed directly to employees by IT departments, they can be drop-shipped on demand, as needed. In fact, the IT department may never directly put their hands on the machine!

This is a move away from the old way of provisioning laptops, which involved imaging laptops and desktops exactly to specifications and maximizing the IT team’s control of the final experience. The desktop computer is now just as mobile as your phone.

Microsoft has a brilliant product called Windows Autopilot which we use here at ANP and offers many business benefits.

Benefits of Unified End Point Management for Small Businesses?

AT ANP we speak to several small business owner, CFOs, Controllers, or other important department leaders a week, who are bogged down spending their days preparing laptops for new hires. This is mindless work, and it's sucking up valuable time from your business leaders who should be focused on mission critical work. They do it because it’s either cheaper or faster than asking their IT department to do it. If this sounds familiar, ANP can drastically change the game for you by managing your endpoints!

Without a doubt, UEM has simplified Windows device lifecycle, from initial deployment to end of life. UEM tools like Autopilot exponentially reduces the amount of time required to prepare a laptop for a new hire. Now, you can directly ship a laptop from a manufacturer to an employee’s home with it pre-configured with all the applications needed for that new user to start working on day one.

Likewise, if an employee gets terminated or you need to reset a Windows device, you can easily wipe the machine and reconfigure it for the next user with a push of button. Quickly remove personal files, apps, and settings, and reapply the device’s original settings, all while maintaining its identity in Azure AD. This makes repurposing a device for the next user a quick and easy experience.

UEM products can reduce manual work for IT, with the ability to create a single policy — such as requiring device encryption — that can be deployed to many devices and operating systems. The same goes for patching.  

If you create a policy in one system and you don't correctly map it to the equivalent policy in another tool, then you could leave your business exposed. By ensuring consistent policies across apps, devices and data, there is a much more simplified approach which reduces chances of misconfiguration and thus reduces gaps for a bad actor to gain access into your network. 

Are you Interested in Implementing UEM?

Unified Endpoint Management is a big step for business IT management and cybersecurity today. ANP leverages UEM tools to help mitigate the chances of that kind of misconfiguration. If you find yourself spending too much time waiting on IT to configuring laptops for new users, or if you’re doing the work yourself, contact ANP today.

At ANP, we’re highly focused on leveraging the cloud and tools such as Unified Endpoint Management to streamline and simplify your business processes, while keeping your users as productive and happy as possible while working from any where, on any device at any time.

Visit ANP online for more information about our cybersecurity services and IT management and support services

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