COVID-19 means that almost everyone who can do it is now working from home. But the rapid pace at which this has happened has put IT under a lot of pressure, so what have we learned that could help in the future?
Digital transformation continues
This week’s JNUC conference sees 15,000 Apple IT staff across the enterprise, and much of the focus is on the challenges of rapidly migrating to remote work. The scale of this migration is vast and appears to continue at a steady pace.
Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson shared some data to illustrate this: “We see 1.5 million new devices every seven days entering the cloud to be managed (by Microsoft Endpoint Manager) and it’s Windows, iOS, Mac and Android. (Italics to me.)
When the offices were first forced to close and the employees were sent home, events unfolded quickly. Speaking on the show, Joe Steele, Head of Workplace Technology at UK-based Starling Bank, said:
“I received two days’ notice for our office workers to work from home. They were desktop based and they were going to have to be laptop based. “I bought all the MacBook Pros available in the UK and shipped them directly to the staff home.
“Within 48 hours, these users had gone from not having a device to a device fully provisioned by Jamf with all the software, security and compliance tools they needed to work efficiently from home.
“Interestingly, there hasn’t been any feedback on what I would consider an incredible feat, but, you know, unless something’s broken, nobody notices it anyway, right?”
(Mac fans vs. Windows TCO may be interested in Steele’s claim that he needs a support staff member to manage 20 Windows PCs, or they can handle 250 Macs.)
Climb on board
The vast majority of Jamf employees started working remotely in early March. With remote vision at the heart of the business, it was less difficult than in other businesses. CEO Dean Hager explained some of the issues companies might face in the process of becoming new remote and onboarding employees:
- Cloud: If you have used onsite servers, remote working becomes a problem due to the need to maintain the servers onsite – who will be onsite?
- Landline phones: Businesses using traditional PBX landlines have been disrupted. “We have over 1,300 people around the world. No one has a landline. Our 200 customer service people work entirely on iPhone. Because all of our call routing software is cloud based, when we all got home the service was exactly the same as it already was, ”he explained.
- Endpoints: With employees working remotely, the need to secure endpoints has become critical. This is particularly the case when the infrastructure of each employee (broadband, home security, living conditions) is unique. The ability to protect the device and the data stored on this device becomes extremely important.
Hager says the change in the way we work will also change the nature of the workspace: “Going forward, Jamf facilities will be a service to employees, not an expectation on their part.”
How the integration has changed at Evernote
Shams Mansoor, Senior CIO at Evernote, explained how remote working has changed the onboarding experience. He explained that before the pandemic, onboarding included an hour-long orientation and equipment setup session; this has now been replaced by remote setup and self-service support.
As the pandemic struck, Evernote automated many onboarding processes using OneLogin, BetterCloud, and Jamf. “All we have to do is send the laptop in, the employees open it and it’s configured with what they need,” he said.
“This cuts down on the time spent on orientation, so employees know what and how to use our IT. We do our best to make sure new hires don’t need to contact IT on day one.
“The processes and what we have learned – we will keep it forever.”
To help onboard new staff, Mansoor’s advice is:
- Automate if possible.
- Make IT support available where employees are (chat, self-service, etc.).
- Create a self-help wiki to help staff solve problems on their own.
- Create an easy-to-use unified ticketing system.
Jay Srinivasan, co-founder and CEO of atSpoke, explained the SaaS confusion.
Most companies use dozens of different SaaS applications, which means employees often spend a lot of time trying to find the right place to get help for a specific SaaS function, or trying to figure out how to fix it. themselves the challenges.
It’s an even bigger problem for remote workers and new hires.
His advice? Build a clear and single source of information about all the applications used in your business, automate where possible, and develop a transparent and easy-to-access support request system.
Everyone in IT seems to agree that support tickets are more than administrative – they help the IT department identify trends and identify more trivial (but frequent) support requests that can be handled by users themselves. – even with the help of a support wiki. It is wise to use this data to improve support and allow support staff to focus on bigger issues.
This contactless thing
For many businesses, rapid remote deployments have been made easier through the use of remote configuration tools.
With this in mind, Jamf’s biggest novelty at JNUC has been its much improved Jamf Connect solution, which combines user management tools from Apple (Apple Business Manager) and Microsoft (Endpoint Security, Azure). An example of this: Employees can set up, provision and start using a brand new Mac by simply opening the machine and using Face ID on their iPhone, thanks to Jamf Connect’s integration with Apple and Microsoft Azure.
This differentiation between Apple as a consumer-centric company and Microsoft for the enterprise continues to erode.
Jeremy Butcher, head of enterprise products and education at Apple, said: “The idea that there has to be a distinction between enterprise-level security and consumer-level security is kind of a mistake. . Why shouldn’t everyone have incredible security? “
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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.