An Introduction to Microsoft Endpoint Manager

What is Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM)?

At Ignite 2019 Microsoft announced that Config Manager (SCCM) and Intune were being merged to form a single pane of glass management solution called Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

The Microsoft Endpoint Manager console will show a single view of all devices managed either on-premises via SCCM or cloud-based via Intune.

What are the benefits of Microsoft Endpoint Manager?

As modern ways of working are evolving, organisations and IT departments are being challenged to manage a wide variety of devices, alongside an increasingly mobile workforce.

End users are accessing corporate data from multiple devices – some being personal – which increases the overall threat risk.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager provides several standardised benefits as part of the solution:

1. Increased scale

Modern management systems must be intelligence-driven to maximise the user experience, which is why there are currently over 190 million devices managed by either SCCM or Intune.

The merge of both Config Manager and Intune increases the scale at which potential telemetry data can be leveraged by organisations for troubleshooting and problem-solving.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager introduces a plethora of intelligence that will give administrators granular analysis and detailed insights to their environment compared to other tools.

2. Co-management

Microsoft originally provided users with the ability to connect Intune with SCCM, a solution that was very limited and has since been retired.

With the introduction of Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Co-Management, which can manage devices whether they’re cloud-enabled or still managed by on-premises SCCM, provides that single pane of glass that organisations can use to gradually transfer workload authority from SCCM into Intune.

Previously Microsoft has described this as a bridge to cloud enablement. However, in more recent times, they’ve had a stance of a bridge or a destination, as described by Brad Anderson:

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is the future of Microsoft device management, with Brad Anderson (VP at Microsoft) – “Let me be very clear – this vision includes both ConfigMgr and Intune. Co-management isn’t a bridge; it’s a destination.”

Microsoft Endpoint Manager will allow organisations to start on the digital evolution of cloud management, with major support for existing, legacy infrastructure investments.

3. Desktop analytics

Also available within Microsoft Endpoint Manager is Desktop Analytics (previously Windows Analytics). This helps you inventory your Windows devices and their operating system build version and build pilot groups in deployment plans to roll out the next version of Windows 10.

It also analyses your application estate and helps you with compatibility verification by gathering data from all your devices.

Some large businesses have improved their rollout times of new Windows 10 versions by x4 by relying on data-driven decisions and the machine learning-based insights provided by Desktop Analytics.

4. Autopilot

Part of the journey from traditional to modern management has been the way users deploy operating systems to devices.

Traditionally IT departments have purchased new devices with Windows pre-installed. Then they have to wipe those devices and deploy their own customised operating system image.

This requires a lot of up-front work to ensure that they have the correct drivers for all hardware platforms, and to manage and maintain multiple images.

Autopilot has been around for a few years. It provides businesses with the ability to purchase new devices from a vendor and ship directly to the user.

Then, when it’s logged into for the very first time with the user’s credentials, the device will be set up with all the pre-built policies, settings and applications defined by the IT department.

This allows the reduction of IT overheads to manage and maintain multiple images for users. It also removes the heavy lifting of image deployment from overstretched IT departments.

5. Simplified licensing

This provides customers with an easy way to consume the service, with most organisations being able to utilise the platform with existing Microsoft 365 or SCCM licensing.

6. Full integration

Microsoft provides a centralised device management platform that’s integral to helping organisations manage their devices.

Endpoint’s full integration with the Microsoft 365 technology stack utilises Microsoft Cloud Score, Security Score, Compliance Score and Productivity Score.

Without this, organisations need to extend or retrofit solutions on top of their existing systems, potentially disjointing infrastructure and management processes – leading to a poor end-user experience.

For more information about how we can help you get the most from Microsoft Endpoint Manager, get in touch today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams is the Head of Technology at Camwood.
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