Deploying and managing devices while WFH

bird's view of a person working from home on a laptop, with a smarphone and tablet lying next to them

Working from home is the 2020 revolution that just won’t quit. For many business owners, WFH has given their team a way to continue working despite COVID-19 lockdowns.

For others, old-school ways of deploying and managing devices have made working from home a nightmare that never seems to end.

If that sounds like the camp you belong to, there are modern ways of doing things which have become industry standards.

Adopting these standards will turn your home working solution from “nightmare” to “just another day in the office”.

For most organisations, these shouldn’t be goals to aspire to. They should be your everyday standards for the way you operate:

1) Providing your team with working from home devices

How things used to work

Providing new devices for your team used to be a major pain in the proverbial. First of all, you or your IT team needed to select and order each device and wait for it to arrive.

Then they would need to build the device. This would require an “image” – essentially the standard set-up of all of the software, settings and policies on all of your company’s computers – which they would have to maintain in the meantime.

Maintaining that image became something of a full-time job for many IT experts. For example, Microsoft has never been shy about releasing new Windows updates. And all of those updates and much more needed to be incorporated into your image.

Setting up that image on each device would need to be done in person by you or your IT wizard. Then it would need to be shipped to your team member who needed the device in the first place.

How things can happen now

The cloud has transformed how you provide your working from home team with new devices.

In fact, with Windows Autopilot and Intune in your corner, your team member can go and buy any Windows 10-supporting laptop or desktop themselves. Or you can have IT order them your preferred device and have it shipped directly to the person who needs it.

Then all your working from home team member needs is an internet connection. Windows Autopilot then automatically locates and installs all of the software, settings and policies you have chosen.

With Intune, you or your resident IT whizz can even manage the device remotely if your team member has any problems.

2) Device Management when working from home

How things used to work

If you are still using an Active Directory and Group Policy Objects, it’s worth knowing that things have moved pretty far on from there.

These more… classical approaches are leftover from the days when no company could conceive of the idea of allowing their employees to work from home for any length of time.

Problems with this kind of solution included employees being locked out if they didn’t log onto the corporate network often enough. There was also no ability for you or your IT team to manage devices which weren’t logged onto the network (which was usually located in your office).

VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are the way most organisations chose to get around these problems. But VPNs can cause bandwidth bottlenecks – a big problem for video conferencing – and a number of other issues.

How things can happen now

Windows Autopilot and Intune smooth away all of these issues too. These tools let you create individual profiles for devices and platforms. You can then have them update your team’s devices at the click of a button.

All in all, managing remote workers and their devices is now even easier than managing them in the office used to be.

3) Cyber security when working from home

How things used to work

Older ways of working were vulnerable to new devices being built incorrectly. They also meant there was no way to check on individual user or device compliance once they left the office.

Plus, there was no way to update the device with anything that was missed – or which changed or needed to be updated in the normal course of things – later on.

How things can happen now

Intune allows you to easily monitor which devices are compliant with policies which you can create and manage yourself. You can even have in-app controls over access and other functions which can prevent users from downloading, printing, or copying files depending on their permissions.

Again, this is one of the ways in which today’s standard ways of operating offer smoother and more granular control over devices and users on your system. Even more so than the control you might once have had when you were all physically working in the same office together.

Wouldn’t it be easier if things just worked? We think so too.

Which is why we have a whole section of our website dedicated to handy resources you can use to start improving your working from home game.

You can also get in touch with us directly for a free chat with one of the experts already used by nearly 1000 businesses in the Bristol area for their cyber security.

Call us on 0117 369 4335 to discuss your current setup and how it can be improved. You can also schedule a meeting with our Director Gildas Jones via his booking link.