How to achieve cloud-native endpoint management with Microsoft Intune

This is the final blog post in our series highlighting the increasing benefits of becoming fully cloud-native in endpoint management with Microsoft Intune.

In our first post, we talked about why more of our customers are migrating to cloud-native endpoint management. Our second post presented a three-phase model for how customers can go cloud-native with Intune. In this final post, we're focusing on what it really takes for organizations to make this valuable change—from the strategic leadership to the tactical execution.

A security professional working on a cloud migration project

Microsoft Intune

Your command center for endpoint management

A change in vision

“Copilot…frees up my time to use my expertise to create more value, and spend less time on lower-value activities, and instead focus on what drives impact and drives change for our clients.”

—Sally Penson, Head of Transforming Delivery, UK Insights

Microsoft Copilot for Security and Copilot in Intune signals a shift in the information technology and security landscape. While it is relatively easy to envision how individual tasks and routines may be changed by and , it is harder to see exactly how this will impact business in five years and beyond, but there's little doubt it will be significant. Imagining what that impact may be is critical to understanding the opportunities and challenges ahead, and re-defining your capital “V” Vision for your enterprise is fundamental to making the most of it.

Historically, IT has been treated like an electrical utility—make sure that the information is flowing, and if it isn't, get it back with as little disruption as possible. The future will be a very different place. As I see it, IT is at the start of a truly radical change. Routine maintenance and will be automated away or made easier. This leaves experienced technology experts with more time to focus. They will need to use their knowledge of your business and technology to become value-creators—this is the change in vision that will need to come from the top.

“Have a growth mindset and invest time into developing and learning the ever-evolving technology of cloud management.”

—IT administrator, Thorlabs Inc.

Setting the stage for this transformation now—by expanding your corporate vision to encompass the new tech landscape—can help with the next level of change. But successful implementation will depend on how well you can help your IT professionals align their own vision of their roles, and of themselves, to the changing technology landscape. One theme we hear over and again—especially from customers who have spent years learning and mastering the complex controls and arcana of endpoint management—is “Why would I give up the total control I have now?” or “why fix what isn't broken?”

These questions and concerns are common to those who have built and mastered their craft in the utility model: This is a complex system that I understand and manage expertly, and it enables the flow of information exactly as we need. This is a model that prioritizes knowledge of and experience with processes and tools. Experts should rightly be proud of their abilities, and some systems and processes simply can't be updated. The challenge is that for the systems that can be updated, the processes, tools, maintenance, and the complexity of systems will be vastly different. In a world with Copilot and -aided , process will be secondary to data. The knowledge and experience of problem-solving and of harness technology to improve your business will become more valuable than the knowledge of tools. Instead of merely keeping the information flowing, IT teams will need to tap into that flow to find new efficiencies and business opportunities.

And while I am confident in the impacts we will see, I don't want to leap too far into the future.

Changing the vision of the role of IT administrator isn't going to happen overnight. The first change that can lay the groundwork for the new mindset the future will require is to prepare your organization to take advantage of the and that's already here. That means going cloud-native and moving endpoint management to Intune. Less radical than the changes to come, but no less jarring—this move eliminates the need for a lot of specialized equipment and specialized knowledge of the tools that run it all. It also requires a re-imagining of security, policies, and approaches to endpoint management. Faced with having to start fresh in creating these policies, many choose the status quo. But as we talked about in our first post in this series, moving endpoints to the cloud grants access to the value-add of and the next generation of technologies. So a fresh mindset is needed, along with a fresh look at device configuration and compliance policies.

I make no assertions that such change is easily accomplished. In fact, we have customers with the directive to change the vision at the top who are stymied at the point of implementation. The human element, the vision an IT admin has for their own future, must be given consideration—and a plan.

A change in process

“It's time to leave behind the old mindset and start from the beginning.”

—IT administrator, Multinational Chemical Company

We have found that the combination of inertia and inherent complexity in making a change to endpoint management solutions causes a lot of hesitation. No one wants to be the one who pushes the button to make the information stop flowing—even if you assure them no such button exists. Customers who have had successful migrations to Intune overcome this hesitation by creating smaller pilot programs, rolling out changes incrementally, and identifying and organizing “champions”—stakeholders committed to the project who advocate for its adoption. Hewlett Packard Enterprise even shared their advice with us for this case study.

With this approach, potential negative outcomes are limited. Small wins can be quantified, and champions help with communicating clearly what's happening to other stakeholders at every step, building trust and easing minds.

A change in our process

We have heard from customers that the power and flexibility of the Intune platform presents an array of options and configurations that can be daunting. It isn't possible for our experts to embed with every customer every day—though the FastTrack and Customer Acceleration Teams provide great support and can consult on particularly complex scenarios. What those teams hear over and over is “just tell us what to do.” So we at Intune have decided to change our process a bit, to help our customers to change theirs.

As part of this new approach, we've created what we call “one-size-fits-most” guidance to help configure the basic settings companies need to get endpoints more secure and productive with Intune. We've also streamlined the Microsoft Intune documentation hub, highlighting this guidance and making the path to implementation a little clearer. Our hope is that the IT administrators tasked with actually making Intune “go” will have the confidence to do just that.

We have also cultivated a robust community around Intune, full of fellow IT administrators and support professionals—which can be a great resource when that “one-size” approach doesn't quite fit. Find the Intune Tech Community, and engage our Intune customer success team on X or their Tech Community page.

For those whose job entails proving the return on investment (ROI) of Intune we've even published a new tool that helps you calculate your ROI with Intune.

Learn more about Microsoft Intune

 

This article was originally published by Microsoft's Secure Blog. You can find the original article here.