As organizations go mobile for increased productivity and flexibility for the employees, most enterprises resort to kiosk mode in corporate-owned devices to leverage its features for:
- Streamlining business processes.
- Improving productivity by limiting app or software installations that consume more resources or distract users.
- Restricting access to other system resources and connecting to unsecured websites to protect business data.
What is Kiosk Mode?
Kiosks provide a self-serving environment, with a defined service to the user. The user does not own the kiosk and hence is not responsible for how it functions. In a corporate environment, a kiosk mode is set up on mobile devices to enable only essential functionality for the employees and restricts extraneous features. This facilitates a focused and seamless work set up for employees with minimal access to the underlying device settings, file system etc.
Windows 10 kiosk mode is supported on PCs and mobile devices with the Assigned Access and Enterprise Assigned Access features of Windows 10. The device signs in automatically and runs a Microsoft App in full screen in a restricted user account, limiting the user access to other apps, device functions or settings.
This blog discusses the latest trends in Windows 10 kiosk mode, advantages, and challenges.
Advantages of Windows 10 Kiosk Mode
Windows 10 kiosk mode locks down applications on Windows-based device for using it for a specific task or deploying it in a public domain.
Kiosk mode offers several benefits:
- A secure, tamper-proof system for efficient asset management.
- Amplify productivity by restricting usage to enterprise or single application use.
- MDM solutions can help run kiosk devices for dedicated services.
- Reduced maintenance efforts and support costs.
- Customized setup for specific enterprise needs with the option of:
– Running single or multiple apps
– Creating and deploying configuration profiles for different users
- Easy management of field employees from a single location.
Windows 10 Kiosk Mode Challenges
There are certain challenges in the smooth functioning of a dedicated kiosk. Let’s look at some of them:
- Although a public access kiosk can clear user data across sessions, identifying when a user has left is still an issue. e.g. Implementing an inactivity timer can work in normal scenarios but can cause problems if there is a queue of users, and the next user begins using the kiosk before the time expires.
- Windows GUI sometimes pops dialogue boxes which may be unrelated to the application, which may confuse the user or serve as a security threat.
- Issues like memory leaks, application crash, or unintended (accidental or malicious) shutdowns can lead to a longer outage. There is a plan to work on Windows AutoPilot Reset to remotely manage the device and bring back the kiosk to a stable state.
- Kiosk deployment requires significant user interaction. Although Microsoft is working on Windows AutoPilot and device management support to simplify deployment.
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Trends in Windows 10 Kiosk Mode
In 2018, Microsoft added new capabilities to Windows 10 Kiosk Mode:
- Extending the Assigned Access capabilities to deploy and manage access for single or multiple apps.
- Kiosk Browser for a reliable and customized browsing experience. It can be configured to a default URL without a UI and automatically clears user data between sessions.
- Protection and vetted deployment through Windows 10 S.
- Windows 10 S will become a preferred platform for Kiosks for it offers deferred and paused updates and BitLocker for device protection.
- Enabling IT to improve end-user experience by providing policies for 24/7 power settings, keyboard configuration etc.
Upcoming plans for kiosk enhancements that will inspire future trends are:
- Multiple screen support.
- MDM configuration setup and enforcement prior to launching Kiosk mode.
- Restore or auto-configure/login after reboot.
- Define different access configurations for multiple users.
Kiosk mode gives a limited control to the user, which makes it easier to manage and secure devices, ensuring these devices run consistently and seamlessly for their intended purpose. Though there are a few challenges which can be addressed using a device management solution for these dedicated devices.