If you are looking to get started with an Endpoint Management tool or looking to replace what you have, look no further! Microsoft Endpoint Manager is THE ONE. The key non-technical reasons for my statement are that MEM has a clear product roadmap, an established user community, a high level of support, and large hiring base, all backing a value-driven solution. The technical reasons include being able to deploy a standard image, deploy software, update and patch devices and servers and distribute and enforce policies and configurations.
Gartner, the world’s leading provider of in-depth guidance developed through rigorous proprietary research methodologies to ensure all insights are independent and objective, rates Microsoft Endpoint Manager very highly, placing it as the leader in its Unified Endpoint Management “Magic Quadrant”. Gartner points out that the main advantages of Microsoft Endpoint Manager over its competitors are its native deep integration across Microsoft products offers security capabilities that are difficult to replicate piecemeal. It also points out the great advantage of co-management providing a great flexibility on implementation of on-premises and cloud features working together. The report ends by praising Microsoft’s product strategy, its growing customer base and popularity on social media.
Figure 1 Gartner Magic Quadrant – Unified Endpoint Management
Microsoft Endpoint Manager has a clear roadmap and the product is developed in parallel with Microsoft Windows and Office providing very early integration and support of new features and functionalities. A clear roadmap helps companies define strategy, plan resources and training staff in a proactive way, maximizing the value extracted from tools and using new elements as they become available.
One of the main reasons why I am proposing Microsoft Endpoint Manager as a solution to manage your endpoint devices is that the MEM has a substantial community around it. Microsoft has product specialists posting videos and articles regularly. The product also features consistently on Microsoft’s key conferences. The Microsoft forum for this solution is very active and has a high level of participation. Outside the vendor’s controlled channels, we have a multitude of IT professionals publishing content on articles, blog posts, guides and videos. The Reddit community for Configuration Manager, the on-premises component of the solution has over 57000 members. There is a significant number of books published about Microsoft Endpoint Manager. There is training available at Microsoft Learn, and all the major technical training platforms such as Udemy and Pluralsight.
The size of the user community and the large and growing installed based, makes the hiring landscape for professionals with knowledge in MEM the biggest of any endpoint management solution. Also, the amount of learning and support materials is very large. Hiring and upskilling professionals on Microsoft Endpoint Manager will not be an issue. The product is also featured on Microsoft official courses and certifications, so hiring certified professionals is also an option.
Considering the technical requirements for the solution an endpoint management solution, MEM has it all. The solution has two main parts. The first is Configuration Manager, responsible for the on-premises tasks, but also able to handle devices that are not joined to your infrastructure and devices outside your network perimeter, using the internet as a secure bridge. The second is Intune, a powerful cloud console responsible for managing devices anywhere and embracing a lot of the workplace trends such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), consumerization of IT, Kiosk, and work from any device, anywhere. The great advantage of the two parts of the product is that they were designed to work together, providing room for a very flexible implementation design based on your needs. The formal name for the collaboration between the two parts is Co-Management. It offers the ability to choose which part will manage each of the 8 key workloads, while bot being able to have full visibility and control of the device. The flexibility goes beyond just choosing which part takes charge of workload. The solution not only support Windows based devices, but also supports Mac OS, iOS and Android. The Linux support is expected to be back in 2022.
Operating System Deployment is a key component of the solution. The advantage of controlling the deployment of the Operating System on corporate machines are the ability to quickly provision newly purchased machines as well as re-purposing existing devices. Once the device is handed over to the user it is ready to use. By having a standard device build you reduce support and maintenance costs, you can quickly provide a replacement device for a user to continue working, with no downtime and fix/replace the old device without detriment to the user, since all devices have the same configuration and settings.
Software deployment is another important aspect that is taken care by the solution. Corporate software is ready to use and can be automatically pushed to the user’s device or even pre-installed. Having a catalogue of applications, like an app store, ready to be installed by users on demand is also an option. This is recommended for optional software that is licensed for the whole company or for specific departments.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager offers powerful management capabilities including enforcing and monitoring settings and configurations, such as encryption of the hard drive of the devices, placing the recovery key in a centralized repository. It is also responsible for patching of client and server operating systems.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager has a high level of integration with other common tools such as ServiceNow, Splunk, Power BI and many others.
I believe Microsoft Endpoint Manager is the best tool to manage your endpoints. I also believe that we are the best partner you can choose to perform the services related to Endpoint Management projects. Steeves and Associates are specialized in Endpoint Management and our technical body is composed by Microsoft Certified Professionals, Microsoft Certified Trainers, recipients of the Microsoft “Most Valuable Professional” award and specialized technical resources on supporting technologies, such as Networking, Packaging, Microsoft 365 and Security.
David Nudelman is the Director, Services and Alliances at Steeves and Associates, a specialized Microsoft Infrastructure professional services boutique. His main area of expertise is Endpoint Management.