A woman using a Surface touch and ink. The secure hybrid workplace allows employees to work from anywhere.At Microsoft, we often talk about the importance of building a workplace culture where everyone can be their best selves. A key part of this is empowering people to work in the way that feels most natural to them, from the office, home, or anywhere else. This is why we need to focus on building a secure hybrid workplace.

As we now work in a world where remote working is the norm and virtual meeting rooms are common collaboration spaces. In fact, according to Gartner, 82 percent of business leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time. We need to ensure that everyone has the right tools and devices to empower this. These devices need to be easy to deploy and manage. Perhaps most importantly, they need to be secure and enable long-term value to your organisation.

But doing this is a fine balancing act. Especially in a time when organisations may find they have to do more with less. So how do you implement new, agile ways of device deployment and management with less resources and reduced costs? How do you empower your employees with natural and easy-to-use devices that encourage collaboration and make it easy to do their best work?

Reduce costs and complexity

In a commissioned study conducted by Forrester, Maximizing Your ROI From Microsoft 365 Enterprise With Microsoft Surface, July 2020, we found that 51 percent of Surface users experienced IT cost reductions in their investment.

Take local government for example, who are often under pressure to make resources go as far as possible while demand for service rises. To work as efficiently as possible, Warwickshire Council decided to empower their employees with Surface devices and Microsoft 365.

“In just three months we migrated 4,500 staff to Microsoft 365 and Surface Pro. And less than 1% of users raised any issue with that at all. We could not have achieved this without partnership with Microsoft.”

Craig Cusack, Assistant Director for Enabling Services, Warwickshire Council

Warwickshire Council took advantage of reducing complex deployment processes and eliminated time-consuming corporate reimaging with Windows Autopilot. With Autopilot, you can remotely deploy and configure devices in a zero-touch process right out of the box. Normally, your IT team will spend a lot of time building and customising images that will later be deployed to devices. Autopilot enables your team to configure or setup images with little to no infrastructure from the cloud. From a user’s perspective it only takes a few easy steps to set up their computer and get started with their day. The only interaction the user needs to do is to connect to a network and verify their credentials.

Warwickshire Council creating a secure hybrid workplace

Managing devices is simple too. The report found a 67 percent reduction in help desk time for Surface users – from 45 minutes to 15 minutes. Application updates are easy to roll out to users. This ensures that your devices are always updated with the latest patches without added stress to the user or your IT team.

For Warwickshire Council, the costs savings weren’t just seen in deployment and management. Because Surface devices offer different ways of working, they were able to consolidate eight devices into one. All while empowering employees to keep delivering high-quality services to its citizens.

Protect your investment in the secure hybrid workplace

Security and productivity often don’t go hand-in-hand. But when you have devices that are built with both in mind, you can keep data secure from its first deployment to its last. Surface devices have built-in security, and Microsoft Endpoint Manager makes it easy to remotely update, wipe and re-deploy devices when you need to.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the largest UK Government department. Actively serving 25 million British citizens, its important they keep their data and devices secure. Surface benefits from chip-to-cloud security, making it a strategic part of their security stack. DWP can drive a highly orchestrated, centrally managed, zero-trust security solution to protect its users, apps, and data from the latest cyberthreats.

“We are making sure the entire solution covers all of these security standards without limiting the users experience,” says Nava Ramanan, Workplace Computing Lead Technical Architect.

Surface takes advantage of Microsoft Defender ATP, which detects, protects, and responds to cyberthreats in real-time. Biometric authentication like Windows Hello makes it easy for users to log on while removing the need for passwords.

You can minimise downtime with repairable devices. You can even retain your SSD while its being repaired, and swap user profiles easily and securely over to new devices while the originals are being fixed.

Simplify deployment and management

A man is using a Surface at home, with a cat in the background. The secure hybrid workplace allows employees to work from anywhere.According to the commissioned study conducted by Forrester, Maximizing Your ROI From Microsoft 365 Enterprise With Microsoft Surface, July 2020, respondents who deployed Surface found they saved four hours for each device deployed. That’s four hours they can now spend on value adding work.

The benefits of Windows Autopilot for Surface and Microsoft 365 extend beyond just simple deployment. Intune helps you manage the devices via the cloud to ensure they always meet your organisations and regulatory changes. For example, you can manage devices’ BIOS settings after they’re enrolled, using the Device Firmware Configuration Interface (DFCI). This means you control security settings such as boot options, built-in peripherals, and device hardware. This lays the groundwork for future advanced security scenarios.

You can also synchronise and deploy Microsoft Surface firmware and driver updates by using the Endpoint Configuration Manager client. This means you can roll out updates to ensure all your devices and data are secure, without relying on busy employees to self-manage updates.

Empower employees in the secure hybrid workplace

UK law firm Shakespeare Martineau saw improved employee morale, increased productivity, reduced downtime, an increase in billable hours and enhanced client satisfaction when they rolled-out with Surface devices. Their planned six-month roll out took less than a month.

“It was really important to us to be able to facilitate agility across the firm,” states Virdi. “Microsoft Surface aligned with our strategy to support our Positive, Passionate People. The product is very good in style, different ways of working and real performance, and it gives our staff the agility and freedom to work in a way that suits their lives whilst maximising productivity and effectiveness.”

Dal Virdi, IT Director, Shakespeare Martineau

With the right tools and devices, you can reduce the strain on your IT team and deliver a better user experience. Enable your people to work in their best way focussing on collaboration and productivity.

In the secure hybrid workplace, your IT team can take an automated, streamlined approach to a device’s lifecycle from deployment through to management and security. This will ensure your organisation is always prepared for the future. That means your users will have the freedom to work from anywhere, while still maintaining control and security.

Find out more

Visit the website: Reimagine security and risk management

Download the whitepaper: Three ways to reduce the endpoint security risks of a remote workforce

Watch the 15 min on-demand webinar: Deploy, manage, and enable productivity with Surface Duo 

Watch the 30 min on-demand webinar: Zero touch deployment with Surface and AutoPilot 

Tools to empower your development team

Download the guide: Create resilience through remote development 

About the author

Chris, Lorigan a man in a black shirt smiling at the camera.Chris is Surface for Business product portfolio lead for Microsoft in the UK. As the owner of the UK product proposition, Chris enjoys understanding business challenges and bringing together product propositions that empower individuals and businesses to achieve their business objectives. With over 13 years of experience in hardware technology, Chris has held a number of roles in Product Management, Marketing and Sales across the industry in the UK and abroad.