You can handle Windows devices remotely in different ways. However, a few need direct network access to the remote computers. For instance, if you have to install or upgrade apps remotely, you can use PowerShell and a package manager to get the job done. It’s easy if the control system and the remote PCs are connected to the same network. Alternatively, you can possess remote computers connected to the corporation intranet with a VPN set up to manage scenarios.
However, when many businesses shifted to work remotely in 2020, those lacking the proper technology struggled to have safe access to company services and upgrade and maintain remote computers. For small businesses, customising solutions like package managers, PowerShell, or any other solutions of scripting spring to mind would be appropriate. However, when you are about to scale out a solution of endpoint management and provide a massive IT team with a diverse skill set, this isn’t necessarily the best choice.
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Microsoft announced Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) at Ignite in September 2020. Microsoft’s business device configuration products are also known as MEM. The aim is to combine Intune, Microsoft’s SCCM (now Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager), and Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution under one product name to convince consumers that SCCM will not be phased out. Organisations that formerly used SCCM to monitor their Endpoints on Windows can now use Intune through all cloud providers in MEM without purchasing an additional licence.
In early 2020, Microsoft incorporated cloud intelligence into some features of PC management, enabling them to use intelligence and data from the cloud. The integration between MECM and Intune continues to improve with each new update.
Cloud Management Gateway (CMG) is a long-standing feature that helps enterprises to manage Configuration Manager clients without having a VPN over the Internet. Configuration Manager aims to manage machines that are connected to a business intranet. Microsoft sees the requirement to expand Configuration Manager’s capability to provide virtual system control as more staff can operate remotely.
Cloud Management Gateway is a service that handles Windows computers that are part of a Windows Server Active Directory (AD) domain in the Azure cloud. Certificates are used to encrypt connections to the gateway via devices connected to Windows Server AD. To link to CMG, Windows 10 devices that are connected in hybrid mode to Azure AD do not need a public key infrastructure (PKI) or certificates.
CMG can execute the subsequent functions In endpoints:
- Endpoint security and software upgrades.
- Status of client and inventory.
- Compliance settings.
- Distribution of software to the device.
- Providing updates to Windows 10.
Organisations will also deliver applications to Azure AD domain-connected to Windows 10 customers. Companies are not required to create new on-premises networks or open existing systems to the Internet through CMG.
Instead of relying on Microsoft’s CMG program, organisations should use Internet-based client management (IBCM), which involves the installation of Internet-facing site device servers, where clients can remotely connect directly. IBCM necessitates additional infrastructure on-premises, such as an infrastructure of PKI for certificate provisioning and contact channel protection.
PKI stands for Public Key Infrastructure. The underpinning concept of PKI, where one person encrypts a message knowing that the recipient has the secret key to decrypt it, has been in practice for thousands of years. Today, it’s most familiar use is probably online communications. To ensure data safety when communicating with others, the data is encrypted and can only be decrypted by a party with the correct private key.
Finally, companies may use MDM for Intune to control remote computers. No infrastructure on-premises is needed for MDM. Intune is available as a standalone service or as part of Windows’ Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and it includes some of the Microsoft 365 subscriptions.
Organisations should use the Policy Analyzer of Intune, which is presently in preview, to delete settings of Group Policy which can be transferred to MDM. Taking out unnecessary settings of Group Policy will help you reduce the dependency on the technology of on-premises for system management while improving logon performance.
Though Microsoft has no plans to phase out Configuration Manager, it recommends users to handle their devices by using its Intune app. Intune doesn’t need a robust on-premises system, It is simpler to get initiated with Intune and one can easily handle their small business. Besides that, Configuration Manager necessitates an expertise set that could be exclusively curated for larger companies.
If you don’t have an endpoint management solution, Microsoft Intune or another, then MDM service is a good one to begin with remote management. Custom implementations, such as PowerShell scripting, also necessitate the installation of network infrastructure to provide network access between remote devices and management workstations. Although there is a subscription charge for Intune, it is more user-friendly and convenient than installing a custom solution.
Thus you have studied the simplified licensing of Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM), Co-management for Configuration Manager clients, and Cloud-only management using Microsoft Intune.