Let’s step back a bit and explore the concept of modern endpoint management and why this is an approach that every organization should be considering right now. While Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is right for some organizations, it’s not right for everyone. But the principles of modern endpoint management can benefit everyone.
As an IT professional in your organization, it’s highly likely that you and your team have been tackling the daunting challenge of helping employees convert to remote or hybrid work since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations of every kind leaned more heavily than ever on IT to provision infrastructure for an array of roles in work-from-home scenarios—and IT made it happen with nearly no lead time. In many ways, IT departments like yours have been the unsung heroes of keeping business running as usual during the pandemic. You’ve done unprecedented work with virtually no template for doing so. Even those who struggled with this transition did their best to create “the new normal.”
Now that you have navigated through this initial crisis scenario, it’s time to start thinking ahead to future unknowns. How do you keep IT environments sustainable and resilient? What’s the roadmap?
A closer look at modern management and zero–touch deployment
It’s safe to say that this spur-of-the-moment switch to remote work was a lot smoother and more efficient for organizations that had already embraced the cloud and were on the path to digital transformation. And for those who had already adopted modern endpoint management, the switch to remote and hybrid work felt pretty seamless. But for organizations who were still running legacy systems, this transition was more difficult.
Why was switching to remote work so much easier for cloud-ready customers? It’s because modern management and zero touch deployment bring ease and efficiency to the “work from home” transition, and yield time and cost savings to boot.
Essentially, modern management practices allow IT to provision devices and customize remote environments for users without having to physically be in the same room as the device. You and your employees are working safely from your respective locations, and your IT team can get the job done with very little participation from your employees.
Another benefit is that the whole process moves faster. In fact, a Forrester study found that customers using Surface and Microsoft 365 saved four hours per device in reduced IT time to provision and deploy Surface devices1, thanks to Microsoft Autopilot and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. As an IT leader, you know how valuable time savings are for your team.
These practices allow both IT and end users to stay productive, work with ease in natural ways, and maintain continuity in the face of changeable working conditions. This modern approach also has the benefit of cost savings for IT and means less hassle for end users. After all, depending on your organization, some or many of your employees may never have worked remotely before being obligated to do so, and most likely have varying levels of tech savviness. With zero-touch deployment, most of the time, all employees have to do is unbox the device they’ve received via mail and turn it on.
If you’re using or considering Surface devices, this process becomes even easier and more natural for the user due to Surface’s built-in features. Let’s take a closer look at modern management and zero–touch deployment on Surface, and exactly how it can help you make your IT environment sustainable, resilient, and secure.
Embracing zero–touch for the current era and beyond
No one knows exactly when life will go back to how it was before, when so many of us worked in bricks and mortar buildings. Now that remote and hybrid work are the norm for the foreseeable future, employees are more likely to have a device shipped directly to their home rather than having to visit a physical IT office to pick one up. Zero–touch deployment allows technology to be put in the hands of employees much faster. All they have to do is unbox their Surface device, turn it on, and Windows Autopilot handles the rest.
Windows Autopilot walks users through setting up and self-provisioning their device, pulling configurations from the cloud, and then walking the user through one-click personalization options. Self-provisioning can be done leveraging a user’s home network and their corporate credentials. In effect, Windows Autopilot and Surface simplifies the entire deployment process for users—no technology expertise necessary. Autopilot has been a great asset to support the “work from home” movement. To learn more about how the powerful combination of Surface, Windows Virtual Desktop, and Autopilot is transforming organizations and end–user experience, read the State of Georgia customer story.
Additionally, Surface devices stand out in other ways that add value to IT and employees. For instance, Surface is currently the only device that ships with pre-installed Office 365 apps. This means your employees can log on and be productive immediately, without worrying about downloading and installing software. Surface also uniquely has DFCI management, a new feature of Unified Endpoint Management (Intune), or UEFI. DFCI enables IT professionals to centrally manage and secure device firmware, allowing for easy device updates from anywhere.
Managing devices securely, from anywhere
Along with ease of use, security has been the key consideration for IT leaders in creating remote and hybrid environments for their employees. When people and devices are on the move, data is, too, meaning your organization could be exposed to threats if your security is compromised.
IT departments choose Surface devices for their teams because Surface works best on Microsoft 365 as a productivity cloud—and the security story on Microsoft 365 is second to none. Microsoft 365 and Surface provides complete end–to–end security from device firmware to the Windows Hello Camera installed on every Surface device for biometric authentication to Microsoft 365 built-in security features. The security story here is notable because of how it wraps around the device and the user.
Through Windows Autopilot, IT has the ability to natively manage Surface devices that are using Microsoft 365. Through Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology, a built-in microchip provides hardware-based security. This allows for powerful modern management that takes advantage of all the capabilities of Windows 10 on Surface.
Introducing new features and capabilities, naturally
When it comes to device or system updates, the pairing of Surface with Windows Autopilot takes the stress and security worries off your employees. Surface’s underlying firmware makes it easy to push new features and security updates to every device. From anywhere they may be working, your IT team can grant users the latest and greatest features specific to their device.
When Surface is layered with Microsoft 365 chip–to–cloud security and Azure security capabilities, you have a very robust security solution. If a security vulnerability is discovered when an employee is working from home, IT can even push out an update at the device level. This is a super unique capability that highlights the value of modern management on Surface.
Making the case for modern management
The cloud and unique features of Surface makes deploying new devices and managing them radically easier, no matter where your teams are located. Hybrid work is here to stay. Companies have developed new habits in the era of COVID and will continue to maintain these more fluid work scenarios into the post-COVID era. The shift to remote work at scale, enhancing user experience, and the need to manage costs are just some of the factors that are driving the adoption of modern management across many organizations. It’s a new frontier, and as an IT leader, you’re right in the center of it.
Friction-free, zero-touch deployment puts automated Surface provisioning and configuration into your users’ hands in a nonintimidating way. It saves IT time and costs. Surface helps you and your IT team reduce complexity so you can focus on what’s next: making your organization’s IT environment sustainable, agile, and resilient in the new normal.
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While you’re at it, learn how to deploy the secure, modern workplace—anywhere. Watch our webinar on-demand.