Modern PC Management with Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Since the pandemic has forced businesses to change their modern workforces, looking toward full-remote or hybrid teams, this has also forced businesses to change how they think about modern PC management. Microsoft has a service product geared toward helping with modern PC Management, Microsoft Endpoint Manager. Here’s how this service can help you accomplish the modern PC management solution.

Remote Workforce Is the New Modern Workforce

Microsoft Endpoint Manager supports fully remote workers. It can also be used to streamline PC deployment for both hybrid and on-site workers as well. So if you’re not quite there all the way in the cloud, or you’re still using on-premise stuff, Endpoint Manager still applies and still offers benefits.

According to recent research from Spiceworks Ziff Davis, 25% of the workforce will be remote in a post-pandemic world. In one study they did at the height of the recent public health crisis, they found that at the time, 61% of the overall workforce was remote. SZD also found that 74% of the workforce will remain fully in the office.

In the near future, they expect that 6% will go fully remote and 19% will be hybrid spending some of their time in the office and the rest remote. So it’s clear that the nature of work is changing. There’s a shift happening and as technology continues to drive innovation, employees are looking for employers who will provide a modern workplace.

The Modern Workplace with Endpoint Manager

Microsoft defines the term “modern workplace” as being able to work securely from anywhere on any device, using tools that enhance the quality and effectiveness of your work. As you look at your business, ask yourself how can I provide this idea of a modern workplace? One of the hurdles you’re going to face is how you can deploy the tools, devices, and applications that your employees need to do their work. This is where Microsoft’s endpoint manager comes in to provide a solution for this challenge.

Endpoint manager includes products that are key components to fully implementing a modern workplace. The two products that we’re going to focus on today and take a deeper dive into are Intune and Autopilot. These products can create a modern PC deployment and management solution when properly combined.

Microsoft Autopilot

Autopilot streamlines the Windows out-of-box experience. When users access their new PCs with Windows, Autopilot automates all of the initial setups that Windows requires upon first use. Your IT department can predefine all of these choices on behalf of the user and really simplify what they need to do from taking that PC out of the box or if their PC was just wiped.

When a PC is registered to Autopilot, the user doesn’t see any of these things. Instead, the PC prompt for an Internet connection and check for registration with the organization and Autopilot. Then Autopilot will prompt the user for their credentials. Once Autopilot recognizes the user credentials, it enrolls the device in Intune, which takes away the PC management from there.

Microsoft Intune

Intune is the device management solution in the Endpoint Manager. Its primary features are device configurations, which are much like a modern version of group policy. It allows you to push out new applications, update, and pre-configure windows settings for users. This is not only for new PCs when you’re initially setting them up but also for managing existing PCs going forward.

So if there’s a setting you initially configure or an application you initially deploy, you can go back to all those PCs in the field and remove that application or make changes to those. It also includes the ability to manage Windows updates on enrolled PC.

When you pair Autopilot with Intune, you can fully automate the PC deployment anywhere you have an internet connection.

Using Autopilot and Intune with On-premises

Even if you’re still using an on-premise active directory, people are still depending on that it might be syncing to the cloud, but on-premise is still, ultimately, what you’re managing your active directory from, with Autopilot.

You can even remotely automate joining that PC to your on-premises environment. Autopilot will initiate the VPN connection that’s necessary for this and then complete the domain join without any input from the user.

Your IT staff can even pre-register a PC with Autopilot without ever having to unbox the PC. A lot of manufacturers are starting to include a PKID, or a product ID, right on the box. You can take that number, go into the Endpoint Manager admin center, import this number, and then you’ve pre-registered the PC without taking it out of the box.

Another option you have is taking a combination of the devices, serial number, the manufacturer, and the model. There’s also an option to use a PowerShell command to retrieve a unique hash that can be used for registering a device, which can be useful for registering pre-existing PCs.

Using Endpoint Manager to Pre-configure for user roles

Your IT staff can even use user groups to predefine what configuration and apps user roles need. So your finance team might need one suite of applications. The warehouse PCs might need something else. They might be a little bit more restricted, things like that.

Fixing Corrupted PCs Remotely

Autopilot and Intune can even help your help desk. For example, if a user runs into an issue and reaches out to the help desk, and they determine that there’s some type of corruption going on with the operating system, they can remote-wipe the PC, and then Autopilot and Intune will both kick back in. All of the configurations will be completed by the services, and the PC is ready to go back out into the field.

With Intune, your IT departments can also remotely wipe a PC if it’s lost or stolen. They can manage Windows updates as well as application updates, which could also fix any issues remotely. Intune can also auto-rollout changes in security and group policies as well, no matter if the workforce is remote, hybrid, or completely on-premises. All that it needs is an Internet connection.

Have any questions about how Microsoft Endpoint Manager can help your company’s PC management, no matter what type of workforce your company employs? Please contact one of our experts at any time!

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