98% of UK businesses saying that digital transformation is important to their future strategy…
With 98% of UK businesses saying that digital transformation is important to their future strategy, it’s not just your USP, products, or services that pose the difference between success against your competitors, it’s your technology.
In the modern workplace, businesses are harnessing technology to achieve unprecedented growth and prosperity. Remote and hybrid workforces have become the norm, and businesses need to be able to manage their security, compliance and onboarding processes in a way that is both efficient and effective.
As of June 2023, a remarkable 44% of the UK workforce has adapted to remote work. This shift, whether fully remote or in a hybrid arrangement, offers much greater flexibility and has revolutionised the way many businesses work. Nevertheless, it has also presented significant challenges for businesses. In the wake of this transformation, the imperative of ensuring the security, compliance and seamless onboarding of remote or hybrid workforces has become more critical than ever.
However, amidst a rapidly changing landscape, there’s a beacon of hope when it comes to simplifying and speeding up processes. Microsoft’s Intune and Autopilot solutions have emerged as essential tools for organisations to not only navigate the complexities of the digital age but thrive within them. These technologies safeguard your business against the ever-present threat of cyberattacks but also save you precious time, a commodity that, in the modern world, is just as valuable as currency.
In this white paper, we will explore the pivotal role that Microsoft Intune and Autopilot play in the digital transformation of businesses. We will delve into how these technologies can empower your organisation to achieve security, compliance and efficiency, all while managing remote and hybrid workforces with ease. We will provide actionable insights, practical strategies and customisable resources to help your business benefit from these powerful solutions.
What are Intune and Autopilot?
Both cloud-based, Intune provides a set of tools for managing devices, applications and data across all platforms. Autopilot is a deployment service that streamlines the process of setting up and configuring new devices, after they’ve been setup with Intune – the two work in tandem.
Traditionally, the process of setting up and managing devices in your business can be time-consuming and prone to hiccups. It requires your IT team to setup and configure each individual machine – ensuring all security settings are configured correctly step-by-step, one setting after another, ensuring all updates happen, then adding all of the necessary apps which are required for the intended user (which can be different on a team-by-team basis.) However, with Intune and Autopilot working together, it becomes a far more seamless experience.
Whether it’s configuring laptops, smartphones, or tablets, these two software solutions make sure that your devices are set up just the way you want them. You can establish consistent configurations, security settings and software installations across all devices. This uniformity not only reduces the chances of errors but also makes it easier to manage your IT environment.
Intune and Autopilot help companies deal with common IT challenges, like lengthy and repetitive onboarding processes, which take up huge amounts of time and can leave systems open to cyber risks if there’s no consistency in setup, or you’re relying on an IT team to meticulously configure every single individual setting (over and over!) With Intune, your IT team or partner can create specific profiles for users or teams to make device roll out simple and consistent. You can manage, configure, update and protect the devices that your organisation uses, such as computers, laptops, tablets and phones. You can do this by managing, configuring, protecting and updating the apps that you need – all while ensuring that devices are compliant with your business’ security requirements. Once you have created your settings and determined which apps are required and which security settings must be setup, you can store them as profiles, ready for rollout by Autopilot, so there’s no need to ensure each individual device is configured one-by-one, meaning no important settings get missed.
With Autopilot, users receive a new and boxed device, directly from a supplier, or a repurposed device from their IT team or partner. They simply unbox it, login and start using it. Within minutes, Autopilot automatically installs the apps and settings. IT never has to physically touch the device, so configuration and setup can be done from anywhere. Instead of maintaining “images” and handling devices, your IT team or partner just sets them up in Microsoft Intune; they add any apps or settings and choose a setup experience. Then they can be shipped directly to users – whether in the office, at home, or travelling with work.
They were created to address the demand that a hybrid workforce brings. With people working in a variety of locations and in and out of the office, being able to ensure cybersecurity demands are met and all your company devices are protected is essential.
What’s more, they work as part of your existing Microsoft 365 Premium licence, so businesses can take advantage of these powerful tools without incurring a hefty cost.
How do they work together in practice?
Imagine an SME business with 150 employees (let’s call them Company X), a mix of office-based and remote workers. They’ve recently adopted a hybrid work model and device security is a top priority for them due to the increasing cybersecurity threats. They’ve also faced challenges in the past with the time-consuming and inconsistent process of setting up new devices for their employees.
The business wants to streamline the device provisioning process, improve device security and ensure a consistent user experience for both office-based and remote employees. They decide to leverage Microsoft Intune and Autopilot to achieve these goals.
How Intune and Autopilot work together:
- Profile configuration with Intune: Company X’s IT team, with the help of their managed service provider, uses Microsoft Intune to create device and user profiles. They define security policies, app configurations and other settings tailored to specific departments or user roles. For instance, they ensure that BitLocker encryption and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) are enabled for all devices and each team has a specific profile which varies from one to the next, for example, Marketing have design apps and finance have their accounting software.
- Device procurement: When Company X acquires new devices, whether directly from suppliers or repurposes existing ones, they are shipped to employees’ locations, whether at the office, at home, or travelling with work.
- Device setup: Employees receive their new devices, unbox them and power them on. Autopilot takes over the device setup process. It automatically connects the device to the internet and communicates with Intune.
- Profile and app deployment: Intune’s predefined profiles and settings are applied to the device and required apps are automatically installed. This includes productivity software, security tools and any other applications necessary for the job.
- User-friendly experience: Employees simply need to go through a few simple setup steps, such as setting up their password and MFA. Autopilot ensures that all the predefined policies and security settings are in place, providing a secure and consistent user experience. It also reduces the time and effort needed for employees to get started with their new devices.
- Remote configuration: Even for employees working in remote locations, as long as they have an internet connection, Autopilot can set up their devices quickly, ensuring that corporate data remains protected.
Intune and Autopilot enables your IT team or partner to deliver ready-to-go devices directly to users, frees up IT hours which can better spent elsewhere and improves employee satisfaction; and a happy team is a productive one (seriously, a study by the iOpener Institute based in Oxford UK found that employees who are happiest at work report being “on task” 80% of their working week!)
Some key features of this collaboration include:
- Device Management: Microsoft Intune simplifies the management of devices, including smartphones and tablets, across your business through a centralised web dashboard. It includes app deployment, updates and removal capabilities. You can connect to and distribute apps from your private app stores, enable Microsoft 365 apps, deploy Windows apps, create app protection policies and you can manage access to apps and their data. In short, it means you have complete control over apps on devices and any patches that are required on those apps or devices, without the need to configure each individual machine.
- Mobile Device and Application Management: Intune offers comprehensive control over mobile devices, whether they are company-owned or bring-your-own-device (BYOD). You can manage app updates, implement protection policies and access them remotely. According to a study by Gartner, more than 50% of businesses are expected to adopt MDM solutions for their mobile devices by 2023 to enhance security and control.
- Policies: Enhance security with Intune by enforcing access policies, ensuring compliance with security guidelines like device compliance and identity verification. Customise policies for different teams as needed. According to the 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 61% of data breaches involved credential theft and social attacks. Conditional access can help prevent these types of attacks by enforcing strong identity verification policies, for example, rescinding access to employees who are outside of the UK.
- Data Protection: Protect your organisation’s data on mobile devices with Intune’s data protection services, including app protection policies, data loss prevention (DLP), and remote wipe capabilities. Shockingly, a Verizon report found that 43% of data breaches were the result of web application vulnerabilities, including phishing and ransomware attacks.
- Reporting and Monitoring: Gain insights into mobile device and application usage, compliance status, and security issues through Intune’s reporting and monitoring features, meaning you can check for devices that are missing updates, or protection policies.
- Streamlined rollout: Autopilot utilises Intune and other Microsoft policies to set up and pre-configure new devices. Doing so gets the devices ready for productive use without needing an IT professional to sign into it. Autopilot is used for Windows devices and can be used to reset, repurpose and recover devices.
Keep scrolling to see how they can elevate your business processes…