Unified Endpoint Management Using Microsoft Intune

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The shift from a physical to a remote workspace has meant that the till-recently anchored work desk is now mobile. Though each individual employee is working from a different location, yet all are connected virtually.

Seamlessly collaboration using mobile devices has become ubiquitous now. The enabling technology that has been constantly evolving in the background has made anytime-anywhere-anyplace work possible.

For enterprises this transition has come with its own set of challenges. Where IT departments used to earlier manage devices in a limited office environment, they now must grapple with managing multitude of devices remotely ensuring seamless operations while securing safety of devices and data.

Among the challenges is the diversity of the technology landscape. The sheer diversity in the network landscape and the variety of devices used is mindboggling.

The variation goes beyond a physically scattered user group to a range of devices in use adding to the complexities associated with managing multiple devices.

Employee devices vary – some are company given, some BYOD. While at work, they switch between devices – from laptops and desktops to smartphones, tablets, wearables and IoT devices. The OS too varies – from Android and iOS, to MacOS, Chrome OS and Windows 10.

Through it all, IT must ensure that the apps, documents, content, and data remain secure and ensure seamless omni channel access and operations. For this, enterprises depended on Mobile Device Management (MDM).

About MDMs

A basic MDM (Mobile Device Management) software focuses on management of devices. It manages user access to tasks and controls use of the devices. It also allows remote wiping of data in case device is lost or stolen. Security, inventory tracking and real time monitoring and reporting are key elements of an MDM. Mobile device management solutions provide all round safety and support to enterprises. Basic services include:

  • Device safety with screen locks and passwords
  • 2-factor authorization as a best practice
  • Remote wiping out of corporate data when a device is lost or stolen
  • Tracking mobile usage and trends

Advanced MDMs enable greater controls. These are – setting of password attributes to enhance security, restricted access to features such as device settings. These could be screen captures or wi-fi access restrictions.

Security and controls

Security is a key concern. MDM allow IT to have control over the mobile devices with the ability to remotely secure, track, lock, and encrypt messages. Monitoring of workplace device usage is also key feature. Remote control helps to avoid manual set up and controlling updates and troubleshooting.

According to a Ponemon Institute study, two-thirds of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) consider insecure mobile devices their most vulnerable endpoint, along with the Internet of Things (IoT). The report also found that 37 percent of SMB mobile devices had been affected by ransomware. There’s also the not insignificant risk of smartphones falling into the wrong hands —another study found that 4.3 percent of corporate-issued are lost each year.

Sometimes users may report a device as stolen, lost, or misplaced. Since these contain confidential company data, this could lead to a data breach with potentially serious repercussions. In such cases, the MDM enables the IT administrator to remotely lock or disconnect the device and protect the data on it.

With a remote management console, set up and software updates are possible. MDM also makes it possible to push company apps without access to physical devices.

From MDM to UEM

Mobile Device Management (MDM) emerged from the need to manage devices. MDM covered device provisioning, grouping, location tracking, monitoring of device heath and ensuring device security.

The use of BYOD drove the need for mobile application management (MAM). This required application control to protect company data when a personal device was being used for official purposes. Additional requirements for content and information management, and policy compliance led to further evolution to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) which combined all these needs.

UEM is at the top of the hierarchy currently with the ability to manage all endpoints through a single EMM.

Microsoft Intune as a UEM

Of the many offerings in the market, Microsoft’s Intune is a popular unified endpoint management (UEM) solution. A UEM is an advanced form of MDM that combines management of both desktop and mobile devices work environment and has several additional features.

Microsoft’s unified endpoint management (UEM) solution, Intune manages both desktop and mobile devices. Microsoft Intune brings together its UEM and the System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) to create the Endpoint Manager. This makes it a single management interface to manage Windows devices. Intune comes with additional features such as Desktop Analytics and Device Management Admin Center (DMAC)

Microsoft Intune’s Endpoint Manager is a tool to manage all the multiple devices used by employees. It is more than just an MDM -with Mobile Application Management capabilities built into it.

Intune’s Endpoint manager console

  • Allows remote onboarding of end users
  • Supports identity management
  • Wireless LAND management
  • Operational analytics
  • Asset Management
  • Remotely provision, control and secure all devices from a single management console

Customers vouch for Microsoft Intune as the best device management platform for Microsoft centric environments. It ensures security through controlled access to data. At the same time, it is cost effective and provides flexibility while also supporting productivity.