Modern Management with Microsoft 365

M365 is the combination of three products: Windows 10 as a Service, Office 365 Apps and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Together, they represent “M365”. One SKU, one per-user monthly fee, everything you need to succeed in a cloud-first-mobile-first world. M365 is built for Modern Management. This is a technical Microsoft term. The traditional management paradigm consists of a digital estate in which all devices are owned, deployed and managed by the enterprise IT department. Modern Management reflects the reality that workers are mobile and working across both enterprise-owned and self-owned devices and cloud services. This presents unique security and productivity challenges solved by the M365 suite. M365 enables Modern Management by combining its tools to provide Unified Endpoint Management. To understand the importance of UEM, it’s helpful to take a stroll down memory lane.

Managing the PRECLOUD Digital Estate.

Despite breakthroughs in asset management, there remained a problem. Assets were both on-premise and mobile. And while it’s great to want to go “all cloud”, it takes time to get there. With a mix of CMT, MDM, MAM and EMM solutions, it was costly and inefficient to manage devices and risks associated with our mobile-first, cloud-first world.

CMT.

Way back when (so… 1994), enterprises owned all the equipment, and it was all secured in the office’s four walls behind a perimeter defense (i.e., firewall). To manage these devices including OS, patching, licensing, etc. we used Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). This is a “CMT” or client management tool. Many firms with legacy tech will still use SCCM with M365.

MDM/MAM.

As employees began to access apps, emails and files from their own devices, firms needed to enforce standards on those devices, so they employed MDM or “mobile device management” which could require device passwords, lock /locate/wipe the devices, etc. One challenge to MDM was the full access given to IT admins, including rights to pictures, texts, etc. The lighter footprint of MAM or “mobile application management” didn’t require employees to give access to their picture, etc. and allowed IT admins to perform remote wipes on just the enterprise apps and data, not the whole device.

EMM.

Still, a problem remained: device provisioning, deployment and management across a variety of OS and hardware platforms both on-premise and online. CMTs could do it on-premise, but it was inefficient (i.e., different images for each kind of desktop and laptop). And MDM wasn’t able to fully enroll, configure and manage mobiles, let alone do so on a variety of platforms like Windows. EMM or “enterprise mobility management” solved some of these problems.

Managing the CLOUD Digital Estate with UEM.

Which brings us to Unified Endpoint Management via M365. One solution, bridging these unique performance, management and security risks posed by the miscellany of legacy and modern solutions that most enterprises are stuck with today.

Office 365 ProPlus

Office 365 ProPlus including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher – installed on up to five desktops and providing end-users with access from any device via web browser and through mobile apps. Office Apps as a service means your apps are always on the latest security patches and, controlled by you, the apps get updated with the newest productivity-increasing features and tools.

Enterprise Mobility

Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) is a cloud-based Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) suite that allows you to manage devices regardless of where they are or who owns them, solving an age-old problem with on-premise servers. It also enables organizations like yours to utilize zero-trust cybersecurity, solve remote work problems and create a cloud image. With this cloud image, you just ship a new device to your worker (or do a hard reset on their current device) and it automatically provisioning a Windows cloud image with your applications, file shares, printers, security and everything else – all preinstalled.

Windows as a Service

Windows as a Service means your OS is always up-to-date and on the newest productivity and security releases. Think about the pain of upgrading XP to 7 or going from 7 to 10. What if the onerous upgrade cycle became a relic of the past? That’s the direction we are headed in. And with Windows 10 Enterprise, you can enable advanced security including Application Guard, Credential Guard, Information Protection and more.

Not only is M365 a UEM for Modern Management, it’s a powerful productivity platform.

Simplified teamwork and seamless collaboration.

Moving to Microsoft 365 allows teams to collaborate more efficiently. Here’s a quick overview of what your business can do with M365:
  • Synchronize email, calendars, and contacts via Outlook and Outlook Web Apps; this makes it easy to find contacts, look for meeting times and schedule meetings without leaving your Outlook interface
  • Create document libraries and tasks in SharePoint Online to manage the firm’s files and projects and improve collaboration with built-in versioning, document coauthoring and robust audit controls
  • Set up online meetings using Microsoft Teams that have full web conferencing features, including audio, video, desktop screen sharing, even extensive desktop control

All the Microsoft apps, available all the time.

Not only can you use the traditional desktop apps like Outlook, Word, Excel, etc. but they are now available via a web browser, so employees can access them from any device. This includes new applications you get like OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Forms, Yammer, To Do, Viva and more.

SharePoint Online for centralized document management.

SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service that helps organizations share and manage content, knowledge and applications to seamlessly collaborate across the organization.
  • SharePoint has often been used for years by large corporations as intranets and document management systems, but it can be just as useful for SMB and midsized companies now
  • SharePoint is a modern cloud-based file system that opens up new features you don’t get on your current file server such as auto-versioning, document co-authoring and internal & external sharing
  • Most organizations are able to use SharePoint to replace their file server, though some restrictions apply based on how your data is structured (contact us to learn more)

OneDrive for Business cloud storage and desktop BDR for end-users.

OneDrive offers users a simple way to store, sync and share various types of files, with other people and devices on the internet with untethered mobile capability, anywhere access, seamless collaboration, syncing and sharing options.
  • Review and edit documents that are shared with you and co-author in real time
  • Sync libraries to your computer
  • Automatically backup Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders on your PC
One of the key OneDrive features is this personal desktop backup. The old school way to accomplish this was with folder redirects to your server, but this is highly inefficient, doesn’t work outside the office, and most organizations have elected to stop doing it altogether, leaving user data on laptops and workstations unprotected.

Video Conferencing with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams enable workplaces of any size to share, meet and work on files together in real-time through either a desktop app, web-based app or mobile app.
  • Host conferences with up to 250 attendees (or 10,000 with Live Events)
  • Allow clients/attendees to call into a conference line using a computer, mobile or landline
  • All Teams plans offer video conferencing and desktop screen sharing including extensible desktop control (i.e., participants can take control over the host’s computer)
  • Stay secure with a variety of privacy and security controls to allow you to manage who participates
  • Upgrade to a full phone system with domestic and international calling, for much less than many VoIP competitors like RingCentral

A key measure of the value of cloud systems are their ease of use and low maintenance requirements. How does M365 stack up?

99.9% SLA.

If your local Exchange crashes, you’re out of luck until it is fixed. Sending your data to the cloud means your applications, such as email, are always almost available, even if there’s a power outage, fire or flood at your office.

MFA.

Multi-factor authentication compatible with biometrics and Conditional Access that secures your M365 universe and other apps and data by proxy.

No VPN.

Working remotely has never been easier. Microsoft 365 makes it easy to connect from anywhere. No need for any special configuration or IT skills. If you have an internet connection, you can work!

SSO.

Single Sign On allowing you to use one account username and password to login to more than just M365 services, but all your other apps and services, even on premises apps.

No Upgrades.

Once you’re on M365 you never need to upgrade the software (or any of the servers Microsoft hosts it on) again! When you login, you’re already on the latest version.

Conditional Access.

Creating policies to bolster security in some cases (i.e., no logins from China) while relaxing it in other cases (i.e., no MFA prompt if working in a known IP range like your office)

Speedy.

Thanks to Content Delivery Networks, no matter where in the world you are, your content is close to you meaning high performance.

Encryption.

Office Message Encryption for email and document encryption, including preventing recipients from even forwarding or printing them.

A platform that is hyper-secure and compliant with the world’s most taxing requirements like ISO, NIST, FedRAMP, and GDPR.

Azure AD Premium.

Securing on-prem and cloud identities for world-class authentication and authorization.

Azure Advanced Threat Protection.

Extending world-class security, monitoring and alerting directly into your on-prem infrastructure.

Microsoft Intune.

Zero-touch device deployment. Just press button and go. Securely manage apps and data on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

Cloud App Security.

Discovery of Shadow IT anywhere in the workforce with policy-driven control and direct APIs for manageability.

Windows Information Protection.

Prevents the accidental copy and paste of work information into unauthorized files or applications.

Data Loss Prevention.

Label documents and emails by sensitivity and build policies around sending and sharing.

Defender for Endpoint.

Antivirus on a whole new level: agentless endpoint detection and response (EDR) with unparalleled optics.

Azure Information Protection.

Automatically scan information no matter where it resides, label it and build policies around it.

The M365 platform is capable of even more than what we have described here. Get in touch for the full story.

Have Questions About Microsoft 365?

Accellis Technology Group is a Microsoft Gold Partner in three Cloud competencies and is Silver in App Dev. We specialize in Microsoft 365 migrations with an emphasis on Modern Management and hybrid Co-Management. If you have questions about Microsoft 365 solutions, we want to help! Fill out the form and a Microsoft-certified expert will reach out at your earliest convenience to answer your questions.

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