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Microsoft Intune and Autopilot – Managed SOE in the Cloud

One of the difficulties of modern technology management is trying to converge on a standard view across a kaleidoscope of different devices – particularly if you have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place.  Setting up the same environment on each new device (or repurposed device) takes time – your IT admins time, and your employees’ time – not only in configuration but just in waiting around! That’s why Microsoft’s come up with a new solution that radically streamlines the process.  This week we look at Microsofts Intune and AutoPilot.

The benefits of SOEs

One of the ways to streamline device management across an organisation is by rolling out a Standard Operating Environment (SOE) on system enrolment. An SOE allows those in charge of user management to create a standard install of an operating system, configuration, and application set that can be deployed across all new devices.

Of course, there will be different SOEs for Windows/Mac/Android/iOS and desktop/mobile, however having a collection of SOEs with one for each of these significantly lowers the amount of time taken to build a new environment from scratch. It also allows organisations to create base standards of reference, in terms of environments. Organisations may also create different SOEs for different roles within the company: admin, temps, developers, and power users may have different standard installs.

SOEs must be well managed: kept up to date, allow for user group requests to add/change components (with an approval process), configurations available to view at a glance, and rolled out devices linked to each SOE.

Microsoft products that help you create and manage SOEs

Microsoft is well aware of these organisational requirements, which is why they’ve developed solutions that remove the pain of custom in-house SOE systems and management.

The combination of Windows Autopilot + Intune (plus the backing of Azure Active Directory) allows organisations to provision, image, and deploy SOEs instantly across devices simply on startup – all from the cloud.

Autopilot allows organisations to develop zero-touch solutions for all Windows 10 devices that come onto your systems. Once IT develops the SOE and configuration, a user can get any devices with a clean (or reset for reploy) Windows install, connect to a network, enter the organisation’s credentials, and the customized SOE is set up on the device.

Through Azure AD, IT admins can create an Autopilot device group, which allows all Autopilot devices to automatically enroll and receive the SOE once credentials are entered. It’s easy for both end users and for IT admins.

It’s designed to make new / repurposed device roll out as simple as possible

Now, your IT admin staff won’t have to waste their time in setting up new systems whenever a new device is enrolled. In fact, they won’t have to be involved at all – unless your SOE changes or you have the need to create a new user group. For new device users, there is zero confusion in the setup process – log into a network, enter credentials, wait for setup and it’s done.

The cloud-based solution means that you can do this rollout anywhere in the world – which makes it perfect for those with flexible work environments, execs on the go, or companies with multiple sites.

Reduce wasted time across your organisation. Give it a go and try it out. You can trial Intune for free for 30 days (prereq: Azure Active Directory Premium subscription) then use this guide from Microsoft to get started.

Need help with IT support, setup, config, or moving to the cloud? We also offer Azure consulting services. We’re Microsoft partners and know all the ins and outs of their product space and how it can make your business run that much more efficiently – staying in step with everything current technology has to offer.

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