With corporations shifting efforts to support a remote working business model, an additional challenge has been put on IT teams everywhere; keeping computer systems that are no longer accessing company data from inside the network secure. And I am not just talking about the medium by which they are accessing the data - VPNs have been around a long time and offer high-end encryption and protection. Rather, we want to approach the elephant in the room head-on.
Let’s be honest, companies panicked and had little to no plan when safety measures forced companies and organizations to send workers home. Some users brought their corporate computers with them to continue working from home, while others began using their own machines. In both instances, it meant that IT was not right down the hall to run to whenever users could not figure out how to change the volume input on their system. Joking (or not) aside, the new culture of working from home posed a real issue for IT leaders and administrators respectively. The issue was that devices off-net were no longer under the protection of on-prem domain controllers and access control lists limiting their movement on the internet and telling them where they can and cannot go. System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), a tool that IT teams had leaned on in the past for endpoint protection, software/hardware inventory, reporting, and remote control (if not migrated to the cloud) was useless for remote devices. As an IT administrator, how can one confirm that Bitlocker is enabled or that antivirus software is updated on devices that are accessing the file shares you configured? Or the cloud apps containing sensitive company documentation?
Microsoft Azure offers tools for IT admins to help remediate these challenges, or, at least give you a sword in the fight. Remote monitoring tools in the end-user computing space thrive in the cloud. Now, the cloud should not be new at this point in the game. To be honest again, if you haven’t adopted the cloud in some way or another in this day and age, people may think your administration is living under a rock. However simply put, remote tools offer insight into the devices accessing company data no matter the location. Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) formerly Intune, is a great example of a remote monitoring tool. And it can do so much more than just monitoring. From collecting diagnostics, pulling a device’s geographic location, to rotating Bitlocker encryption keys, pushing out custom compliance, configuration, and app policies to devices that adhere to an organization’s security model. In this case, IT admins are relying on Microsoft cloud resources for managing and monitoring end-user devices. It is not limited to just Windows devices either; Mac, Android, and even iPhones. MEM offers a suite of advanced features to help remote systems abide by company security practices. IT admins can finally breathe a little.
Leveraging cloud remote monitoring tools, paired with skilled and diligent IT staff, can be beneficial for an organization. From an IT leadership perspective, there is potential to save money on capital expenditure of bare metal servers running virtual machine services needing to keep up the high demand of a completely on-prem staff as well as save on operating expenditure of licensing those servers and paying the high electricity bill to keep them up and running. For IT admins, it doesn’t matter what network a company-owned device is connected to, as long as the device is reachable on the internet, an IT admin utilizing remote monitoring tools has an extension of capabilities to provide the best IT service while users are at home.
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