If you’re reading this on your desktop or laptop, what’s the probability it’s running on a Windows OS? Well, it’s close to 7:10! It’s not an assumption. As of 2023, Windows holds almost 70%1 of the OS market for personal computers (PCs). Without a shadow of a doubt, Windows is the dominant OS across workplaces worldwide for desktops and laptops.
The Windows dominance is no fluke, either. There’s a lot to like about this Microsoft offering. No wonder all PC manufacturers (except, of course, Apple and now Google with Chromebooks) prefer Windows. For businesses, the range of Windows devices is broad and flexible, from basic to high-end. However, when the Windows device fleet is large, and the workforce is dispersed, businesses must rely on Windows device management solutions.
In this blog, we will dive deep into the seas of Windows device management and explore why a mobile device management (MDM) solution like Scalefusion is a must in the tech arsenal of businesses and IT admins.
What is Windows Device Management (Windows MDM)
Windows device management, i.e., Windows MDM, refers to the practice of overseeing and controlling various devices running on Windows operating systems within an organization. This includes desktop computers, laptops, tablets, POS systems, digital signage, and even smartphones that are powered by Windows. The aim of Windows device management is to establish centralized control, efficient maintenance, and enhanced security across the entire spectrum of devices.
As a part of the Windows journey, the management of its devices can be classified into legacy and modern management. Legacy management (Windows 7 & Windows 8.1) had its hay days till around 2015. It was mostly about IT admins managing Windows 7 & 8.1 device infrastructure on-premise. With the launch of Windows 10 in July 2015 and Windows 11 in October 2021, cloud-based device infrastructure gained momentum. Hence, remote management of Windows devices is at the heart of modern management.
Today, most MDM solutions primarily cover modern device management, while some support legacy management.
Why is Windows Device Management Important for Businesses
The significance of Windows device management for businesses cannot be overstated. Here’s why:
a. Enhanced Security: In the present digital landscape, security breaches are a constant threat. Windows device management enables robust security protocols such as encryption, access controls, and regular updates, safeguarding sensitive data and mitigating security risks.
b. Efficient Resource Allocation: Managing a multitude of devices without a centralized system can be resource-intensive and prone to errors. Windows computer device management streamlines processes, reducing the time and effort required for maintenance and support.
c. Consistency and Compatibility: Ensuring all devices within an organization run on compatible software versions and configurations minimizes compatibility issues and optimizes overall performance.
d. Remote Accessibility: With the increasing trend of remote work, the ability to manage devices remotely is invaluable. Windows device management facilitates remote monitoring, troubleshooting, and updates, enabling IT teams to support devices regardless of their physical location.
e. Productivity and User Experience: Well-managed devices are more likely to operate smoothly, minimizing disruptions and enhancing user satisfaction and productivity.
Industries Where Windows Device Management is Critical
The education sector heavily relies on technology to facilitate modern learning methodologies. Windows device management plays a pivotal role in ensuring a conducive learning environment. Consider a scenario where a school deploys Windows-based laptops or tablets for students. Efficient device management enables administrators to;
Centralized Software Distribution: Schools can install educational software, updates, and security patches across multiple devices simultaneously, ensuring uniformity in the learning experience.
Content Filtering and Monitoring: With device management tools, schools can enforce content filtering to restrict access to inappropriate websites, ensuring a safe online environment for students. Moreover, monitoring tools help teachers keep track of students’ activities during online sessions.
Kiosk Mode: Windows MDM for education helps admins enforce kiosk mode on student devices, ensuring a safe and distraction-free learning process.
The healthcare industry demands secure, efficient, and accurate data management. Windows device management contributes significantly to maintaining these standards in healthcare settings.
Patient Data Security: Healthcare professionals often use Windows devices to access and manage patient records. A Windows MDM solution ensures data security through encryption, access controls, and remote wiping capabilities in case of device loss.
Compliance and Regulation: The healthcare sector is bound by stringent regulations like HIPAA. Windows device management aids in implementing security measures that comply with these regulations, such as regular security updates and audits.
Telemedicine and Remote Work: After the COVID-19 pandemic, managing Windows devices remotely has become crucial in the healthcare industry. Windows device management in healthcare can aid in conducting telemedicine sessions and accessing patient data from remote locations.
The hospitality industry relies on efficient guest services and streamlined operations. Windows device management enhances guest experiences and operational efficiency.
Guest Services: Hotels often provide in-room tablets or kiosks for guest services. Windows device management ensures these devices are up-to-date and functional and offer the desired guest experience, such as easy room service orders or tourist information.
POS Systems: Windows-based POS systems are widely used in restaurants and hotels. Effective device management guarantees smooth payment processing, inventory management, and seamless communication with kitchen staff.
Digital Signage: Managing digital signage in the hospitality industry using Windows device management involves setting up and controlling digital displays to provide information, improve customer experiences, and promote services or products.
In the highly competitive retail sector, Windows device management is essential for delivering exceptional customer experiences and efficient operations.
POS Terminals: Retail stores use Windows-based POS terminals for transactions. Proper device management ensures uninterrupted sales operations, secure payment processing, and real-time inventory updates.
Inventory Management: Windows devices are used for inventory tracking and management. MDM for Windows enables regular updates of inventory data, reducing stockouts and overstock situations.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Effective Windows device management helps maintain customer databases, facilitating personalized marketing strategies and loyalty programs.
The IT/ITeS industry relies on technology as its core operating framework. Windows device management is crucial for the following reasons:
Productivity: IT/ITeS businesses must stay on top of employee productivity to stay competitive. Windows device management allows organizations to blacklist or whitelist certain websites based on employee roles. Also, app and content management using MDM ensures teams have access to the right resources around the clock.
Remote Workforce Management: Many IT/ITeS companies employ remote workers. Windows device management tools enable remote troubleshooting, security updates, and access control for off-site employees.
Data Security and Compliance: IT/ITeS companies handle sensitive client data. Windows MDM solutions ensure data security, compliance with industry regulations (via compliance workflows), and protection against cyber threats.
The BFSI sector handles confidential financial information and transactions. Windows device management is critical in this sector for several reasons:
Data Protection: Windows device management aids in implementing data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and secure access controls to protect sensitive financial data.
ATM Management: Many ATMs operate on Windows systems. Efficient device management ensures smooth ATM functionality, timely software updates, and protection against security vulnerabilities.
Compliance: The BFSI sector is heavily regulated. Compliance workflows using Windows device management help adhere to industry standards and regulations, such as PCI DSS for payment card data security.
Benefits of Windows Device Management
a. Centralized Control: Windows device management provides a centralized dashboard that empowers administrators to control and monitor devices from a single interface, simplifying the management process.
b. Automated Updates: Regular updates are critical for security and performance. A device management solution for Windows automates the distribution of updates, ensuring devices are always up to date without manual intervention.
c. Time and Cost Savings: The efficiency gained from streamlined device management translates to significant time and cost savings. IT teams spend less time on mundane tasks like physical interventions to troubleshoot devices or individual app installation. It allows IT to focus on strategic initiatives.
d. Reduced Downtime: With the ability to remotely troubleshoot and resolve issues, downtime is minimized. This leads to higher availability of devices and uninterrupted workflow.
e. Data Protection: Windows MDM solutions enforce data protection measures, such as encryption and remote data wipe, which are essential in case a device is lost or stolen.
f. Compliance Adherence: Organizations operating within regulated industries must comply with specific standards. Windows mobile device management can help IT admins ensure devices meet compliance requirements through automated alerts on grounds of organizational compliance. These alerts can include battery threshold, maximum allowed disk space, etc.
Windows Device Management: The IT Admin Perspective
Device Enrollment & Configuration
Device enrollment is the initial step in the device management process. It involves registering a device with an MDM solution to establish a connection and enable centralized control. Windows device management providers offer multiple enrollment methods, including:
User Enrollment: Users can enroll their devices themselves, simplifying the process. The methods include enrollment based on QR code or email (Office 365 / Google Workspace).
Windows Autopilot: Windows Autopilot aids IT administrators in setting up devices seamlessly for end users straight out of the box. It facilitates hands-free device provisioning with Zero-touch capability, eliminating the need for any manual intervention.
In addition, IT admins can use bulk enrollment methods for larger deployments. These methods might include utilizing a provisioning package or an automated enrollment process configuring devices with predefined settings during the out-of-box experience.
After enrollment, administrators can configure devices remotely by pushing policies, settings, and applications. These configurations can include Wi-Fi settings, email profiles, VPN configurations, and more.
Application & Content Management
Windows device management solutions allow IT administrators to manage applications and content efficiently. This includes;
App Deployment: IT admins can remotely install, update, or uninstall applications across devices. They can choose from various deployment methods, such as pushing apps directly from the management console, utilizing Microsoft Store for Business or deploying line-of-business (LOB) and Win32 apps.
Content Distribution: Administrators can distribute documents, files, and resources to devices. This is especially useful for delivering training materials, company policies, and important documents to employees.
Password security is a critical aspect of device management. IT administrators must implement strong passcode policies to safeguard sensitive data. This involves setting requirements for passcode complexity, enforcing regular password changes, and enabling features like biometric authentication. By enforcing robust passcode policies using a Windows MDM solution, IT admins can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Data Loss Prevention is a critical concern for enterprises dealing with sensitive information. IT administrators can use a Windows device management solution to enforce DLP policies. These policies prevent users from transferring confidential data to unauthorized apps or paths and devices from falling prey to the wrong hands.
Data Encryption: Administrators can enforce encryption on devices to protect sensitive data. The data remains unreadable without proper authentication if a device is lost or stolen.
Remote Wipe: If a device is compromised, administrators can trigger a remote wipe, erasing all data on the device to prevent unauthorized access.
Admins can classify data based on sensitivity levels and restrict actions like copying, pasting, or sharing to external platforms. DLP policies extend to email attachments, cloud storage, and even printing, providing comprehensive protection against inadvertent or malicious data leaks.
Conditional Exchange Access (CEA)
Incorporating conditional access mechanisms adds an extra layer of security to Windows device management. Conditional Exchange Access (CEA) ensures that only compliant devices can access corporate email and data. IT administrators can set up conditional access policies that evaluate a device’s compliance status before granting access to Exchange Online and other corporate resources.
Using a Windows device management solution, admins define conditions such as device health, enrollment status, and security posture. Devices that meet these conditions are granted access, while non-compliant devices are directed to enroll and meet the required criteria before accessing corporate resources.
Windows Kiosk Mode
Windows Kiosk Mode is ideal for scenarios where devices are used for a specific purpose, such as digital signage or information kiosks. IT administrators can configure kiosk mode to restrict device functionality to a single or limited set of apps, preventing unauthorized access to the operating system and other applications.
From the management console, admins select the allowed apps and customize user interactions, creating a controlled environment. Kiosk mode improves device security, reduces the risk of user errors, and ensures a focused employee experience.
Remote troubleshooting capabilities empower IT administrators to diagnose and resolve device issues without physical access. Through a Windows device management solution, admins can remotely view device screens, access logs, and even control devices to perform troubleshooting tasks.
This feature expedites issue resolution, reduces downtime, and enhances IT support efficiency. Administrators can guide users through problem-solving steps or implement fixes directly from the MDM console. Additionally, reduced downtime improves customer experience where devices are in customer-centric environments.
Reports & Workflows
Comprehensive reporting and workflow automation are essential for tracking device health, compliance, and usage patterns. Windows MDM for laptops and desktops enables IT admins to generate detailed reports on device inventory, security incidents, application usage, and compliance status.
IT administrators can set up automated workflows triggered by specific events or conditions. For instance, an administrator can create a workflow to automatically quarantine devices with suspicious activities or send alerts when devices are out of compliance.
Implementing Windows Device Management: Things to Keep in Mind
A successful device management strategy begins with meticulous planning. This phase involves defining goals, understanding the existing IT infrastructure, and determining the tools and resources required.
- Define Objectives
- Assess Windows Device Inventory
- Choose the Right MDM
Efficient deployment ensures that devices are provisioned with the necessary configurations and software, minimizing disruptions and optimizing user experience.
- Standardized Configurations
- Clearly Defined Policies
- Automated Software Deployment
Continuous monitoring is crucial for identifying issues, ensuring compliance, and maintaining optimal device performance.
- Performance Monitoring
- Security Compliance
- Remote Management (Windows Remote Desktop and PowerShell Scripting)
- Do Prioritize Security
- Do Test Before Deployment
- Do Establish User Training
- Do Keep Documentation
- Don’t Overlook Scalability
- Don’t Neglect Regular Updates
- Don’t Underestimate Training
- Don’t Forget Compliance
Scalefusion Windows MDM
Scalefusion is an industry-leading MDM solution with extensive Windows management features for businesses of all sizes. Scalefusion offers a unified platform for IT admins to manage, control, and secure their entire Windows device inventory through a centralized control panel.
Scalefusion MDM for Windows streamlines the management of various device categories, encompassing laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, POS terminals, and digital signage displays. Moreover, with a dedicated Windows tech support team, Scalefusion never misses the pulse of its customers.
How Scalefusion Helps Manage Windows Devices
As an alternative to browser-based enrollment, Scalefusion offers Windows MDM agent management. IT admins can enroll corporate or employee devices by installing the Windows MDM agent app. The IT personnel or the end user must have access to the admin account on the Windows device. This is especially useful in legacy management environments besides regular modern management.
Windows MDM agent management accounts for both manual and automated enrollment. For manual enrolment, the user should install and launch the Windows MDM agent app and enter the required device details to enroll the device. Whereas for automated enrollment, running a few commands after installing and launching the app would enroll the device.
Automated Patch Management
Unpatched OS vulnerabilities are the gateway to numerous security threats, especially ransomware attacks. Scalefusion’s automated patch management ensures your Windows devices stay updated by installing the latest OS updates remotely. It helps identify and apply Windows OS patches to address any security vulnerabilities.
With this feature, IT admins can schedule driver and software updates on managed Windows devices and apply them remotely. They can also keep track of the patches to stay informed about the update status and failed patches, if any.
Third-Party App Patching
Scalefusion safeguards Windows devices from vulnerabilities within third-party apps with automated third-party application patching. IT admins can effortlessly distribute patches remotely, ensuring the safety and protection of Windows devices against potential risks associated with unpatched third-party apps.
Similar to OS patch management, IT admins can schedule app updates, configure update sync intervals, and keep track of app patching.
Windows App Catalog
This Scalefusion feature truly takes the Windows app management game for IT admins to the next level. IT admins can utilize the Scalefusion Windows App Catalog to efficiently install and oversee applications on managed devices, guaranteeing that users can readily access the appropriate apps.
IT admins can access Windows App Catalog’s vast library of more than 500 third-party applications. These apps can be easily incorporated into the Scalefusion dashboard, facilitating smooth installation of these apps on Windows devices.
With Windows App Catalog, the deployment, upgrade, and uninstallation of apps on managed Windows devices becomes a breeze, simplifying app management and reducing the involved time and effort.
Advanced Security with BitLocker & Windows Hello
Scalefusion MDM allows IT admins to ensure the organizational security posture remains strong and immune. Admins can create passcode policies to enforce strong passwords in terms of complexity, length, and change intervals, along with peripheral control. For Windows device management, Scalefusion fortifies data and device security further with BitLocker encryption and Windows Hello integration.
BitLocker encryption adds an extra layer of protection to data, while Windows Hello streamlines user authentication with biometrics or PIN, enhancing the user experience. This comprehensive approach to Windows device management ensures both security and usability of Windows devices in your organization.
Real-time Location Tracking
Scalefusion offers real-time location tracking of Windows devices. Thus, you can keep a close watch on the real-time whereabouts of Windows devices to ensure their usage is restricted to specific zones and reduce the chances of loss or theft.
IT admins can leverage near real-time location tracking to obtain precise device locations, review historical location data, and establish geofences to guarantee that devices remain within designated zones.
Remote Cast & Control
Scalefusion’s Remote Cast & Control minimizes device downtime while enhancing workforce efficiency. Admins can remotely mirror Windows devices and assume command to address device-related problems.
This feature also helps capture screenshots and record the troubleshooting sessions for future reference. IT admins can generate service requests directly from the remote cast session with integrated IT service management (ITSM) platforms.
User Accounts Management
Managing multiple users on Windows desktops and laptops has been a pain point for IT admins as it’s been a traditionally manual process. Windows device management using Scalefusion alleviates IT admins of this hassle.
All user accounts on Windows devices can be managed remotely from the Scalefusion dashboard. Admins can add/remove users, create/reset passwords, and select the user category (admin/standard), all from the comfort of their own desks.
Effectively managing Windows devices through PowerShell scripting involves harnessing the power of automation to streamline administrative tasks. Scalefusion supports PowerShell scripting for IT professionals to remotely configure settings, deploy software, monitor device health, and easily troubleshoot issues. By crafting scripts tailored to specific organizational needs, administrators can ensure consistent configurations, minimize human errors, and efficiently handle a multitude of devices across their network.
Whether it’s updating security policies, installing updates, or conducting system audits, PowerShell scripting with Scalefusion provides a versatile toolset to maintain Windows devices in a centralized and efficient manner, ultimately boosting operational efficiency and reducing downtime.
Intel vPro AMT Integration
Numerous Windows laptops and computers designed for business purposes are based on the Intel vPro platform. This platform has been developed to seamlessly incorporate a range of technologies, such as MDM tools, for the remote administration of device fleets. Within this platform, the Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) for Windows stands out, taking Windows device management a notch above.
Scalefusion Windows management offers Intel vPro AMT integration. Once the Intel AMT feature is enabled, IT teams can access a device, even if it is powered off. Scalefusion collaborates with Intel AMT to remotely power up devices and control them without the need for manual intervention.
Scalefusion provides configuration options for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge web browsers on Windows devices. Using browser configuration, IT professionals can customize the startup settings of these browsers, ensuring that they align with the desired workflow and productivity standards. Whether it’s specifying the homepage, preferred search engine, or default tabs, organizations have complete control.
Browser configuration also helps IT teams manage bookmarks efficiently, making it easy to distribute essential links and resources to users’ browsers. This ensures that employees have quick access to critical websites and internal tools, enhancing their efficiency.
Cookie policies, which are pivotal in data privacy and security, can also be configured through Scalefusion’s browser configuration. You can define cookie acceptance policies, thereby ensuring compliance with privacy regulations and protecting sensitive user data.
In addition to cookies, various other privacy settings can be regulated. You can enforce security measures such as disabling certain browser features or implementing specific security protocols, safeguarding both the organization’s data and user privacy.
IT personnel can mark a Windows device as lost through the Scalefusion dashboard using the Lost Mode feature. This action will trigger the display of a personalized message on the device’s full screen, containing essential information like an emergency contact number, while simultaneously restricting access to the device for security purposes.
Furthermore, IT departments have the option to set the lost mode message as a lock or policy notification that appears prior to the login screen, serving as an early alert for anyone attempting to log into the device.
Success Stories of Windows Device Management with Scalefusion
Headquartered in California, Birdeye serves as a customer experience solution tailored for small enterprises. It equips multi-location businesses with both the information and the resources necessary to ensure exceptional customer experiences throughout the customer lifecycle. Windows-based devices are primarily employed in its routine operational activities.
Scalefusion proved to be the ideal solution for Birdeye in meeting all of its device management requirements. The multitude of features offered by Scalefusion Windows MDM were effectively utilized by Birdeye to oversee the management of its desktops.
Scalefusion’s automated patch management played a pivotal role in addressing vulnerabilities within the Windows workstations’ operating systems. This, in turn, allowed Birdeye to streamline its device management processes, leading to enhanced productivity. The Remote Cast & Control feature simplified troubleshooting, while workflow automation took care of various IT tasks. Furthermore, app restrictions and web content filtering granted Birdeye greater control over device usage.
In addition to these functionalities, Birdeye harnessed other Scalefusion features, such as custom branding and browser configuration, to ensure the security, monitoring, and management of its Windows devices. Throughout its device management journey, Birdeye received unwavering support from Scalefusion’s dedicated team, which promptly resolved issues and optimized the advantages of Scalefusion Windows MDM.
Israel-based Ullman Media is a prominent dubbing studio renowned for delivering top-notch multilingual dubbing services to major global clients. Windows devices play an integral role in Ullman Media’s daily operations, prompting the search for a comprehensive solution to manage and safeguard all these Windows devices efficiently.
Scalefusion was the optimal solution to fulfill Ullman Media’s device management requirements. Its Conditional Email Access (CEA) functionality effectively thwarted unauthorized access to work emails for users whose devices were not under Scalefusion management. Moreover, Scalefusion’s patch management for Windows streamlined the Ullman Media team’s workload by automating patch updates on managed devices, ensuring they remained current with the latest security patches and bug fixes. This facilitated uninterrupted business operations.
The content and application management capability enabled Ullman Media to distribute content and install customized apps on devices effortlessly, all manageable through the Scalefusion dashboard. Remote troubleshooting expedited device issue resolutions, minimizing downtime. Other than Scalefusion’s outstanding device management capabilities, responsive customer support further enhanced Ullman Media’s overall device management experience.
Secretlab, a Singaporean furniture manufacturer specializing in gaming chair design and production, established a gaming area complete with desktop computers as part of its expansion efforts. The company sought an effective method to oversee and maintain the desktops throughout the gaming zone.
Secretlab selected Scalefusion MDM to meet its Windows device management requirements. Scalefusion aided Secretlab in securing its desktops in the gaming area, limiting unauthorized access. Secretlab utilized the Remote Cast & Control function to resolve device issues, eradicating system errors without needing physical intervention, resulting in cost and time savings. This effectively minimized device downtime and enhanced the company’s customer experience.
Scalefusion’s DeepDive analytics capability allowed Secretlab to gain an in-depth understanding of device information. With the support of Scalefusion’s assistance team, Secretlab efficiently enrolled its Windows devices and maintained close monitoring of them.
Increff is an India-based technology firm specializing in supply chain solutions, offering straightforward technological answers to intricate inventory challenges with the aim of making a noticeable difference in the retail and e-commerce sectors. The organization required a means to oversee its equipment, establishing transparency and authority to guarantee seamless operations.
Increff opted for Scalefusion to oversee its Windows devices. The incorporation of the workflow functionality allowed the company to streamline and automate various IT tasks, thereby reducing the need for manual IT procedures. Increff gained the ability to customize peripheral settings and restrict USB access to a read-only mode, effectively thwarting any unauthorized data transfers. Furthermore, the company successfully deployed native or private applications on its Windows devices via the Enterprise App Store.
Troubleshooting device errors became a breeze with Remote Cast & Control. The Windows patch management feature facilitated the automation of patching and updating processes for remote Windows laptops and PCs (or Windows endpoints). Apart from this, IT administrators could effortlessly enforce passcode policies on devices to thwart unauthorized access. They also had the capability to remotely execute actions like factory resets and data wipes in response to any detected anomalies.
|Read our Windows Case Study Compendium to learn more.|
Make Scalefusion Your Preferred Windows Device Manager
There’s no stopping the dominance of Windows OS in the PC ecosystem, and Windows devices are set to continue proliferating workplaces in times ahead. When it comes to managing Windows devices efficiently and securely, there’s no better choice for businesses than Scalefusion. With its powerful features, user-friendly interface, and robust security measures, Scalefusion empowers you to streamline Windows device management like never before.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to simplify your IT operations and enhance productivity. Take the next step towards a seamless Windows device management experience—make Scalefusion your preferred Windows MDM software today and discover the difference for yourself.
Get in touch with our experts to know how Scalefusion makes Windows device management effortless. You can check out some of the Windows management features with a 14-day free trial.