According to a recent survey of 1,400 CIS officers in 14 countries (including Canada), 63% of Canadian businesses have seen a rise in targeted cyber attacks since switching to remote work. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, more than a quarter of their 3,040 members have experienced cyber-attacks since March 2020.
With nearly 80% of remote workers preferring to partially work from home once the pandemic is over, increased staff productivity and engagement, and a plethora of other benefits to remote work, investment in technology that guards against costly data breaches is no longer a luxury for SMBs, but rather a necessity.
What is Microsoft InTune?
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that provides mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) for all devices accessing sensitive data across different surfaces in an organization.
With Microsoft Intune, businesses have the ability to:
- Restrict emails being sent outside the organizational network
- Isolate organizational data from personal data, enabling you to securely implement BYOD policies
- Use personal devices with Microsoft 365 suite of products, allowing for the deployment of Microsoft Teams, One Note, and other Microsoft 365 apps to devices.
- Decide whether to operate completely on the cloud-based service or be co-managed with Configuration Manager and Intune.
- Set IT policies regarding data access for personal and organization-owned devices.
- Automatically deploy and authenticate apps on devices, on-premises, and mobile.
- Control the way users access and share information.
- Ensure compliance with your security requirements.
Microsoft Intune enables your workforce to be productive across all of their devices while protecting company data, in line with your IT policies.
How SMB's use InTune?
Microsoft Intune gives SMBs control as to how organizational devices (mobile phones, tablets, and laptops) are used. It has many uses, with some of the most popular including:
1. Enable secure email access
54 percent of email scams target small businesses and Intune helps protect your data against such attacks by blocking email access for devices not enrolled on it. This helps ensure employees only use secure internet-enabled mobile devices to access their official emails without risking data security. An added benefit is that implementation of this type of access requires no other gateway machines.
2. Protect corporate data in Microsoft 365
Microsoft Intune helps your IT department better manage data security for WFH, corporate-issued, and BYOD devices. It integrates seamlessly with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), allowing you to control who can access company data and what they can access, and Azure Information Protection, allowing for increased data protection.
3. Issue corporate-owned devices to employees
Intune offers bulk provisioning and management solutions that integrate with major corporate device management platforms, such as the Apple Device Enrollment Program and the Samsung Knox mobile security platform. When device configuration is centrally authored with Intune, provisioning is easily automated, freeing the IT resources to focus on more strategic matters than manually configuring every single corporate device.
4. Issue limited-use shared tablets
Businesses can also use Intune to issue limited-use shared tablets. This feature allows retail stores to process sales or check inventory using company-issued tablets. Using Intune, businesses ensure the usage of the device is restricted to a single line-of-business app. This prevents employees from downloading any files or apps that may compromise the tablet’s security.
5. Implement a BYOD program
For some businesses, device enrollment may not be a viable option. In these cases, Intune offers an alternative method to implement a BYOD program. With Intune, you can manage the apps that contain corporate data even if the app has access to both corporate and personal data. For instance, Intune enables businesses to configure corporate apps like Microsoft 365 with their own IT policies that keep the data protected through means such as encryption. You can also require users to access Microsoft 365 from the Office mobile apps and prevent data loss by restricting file sharing and even disabling copy-pasting text from a corporate email profile to a consumer email profile.
6. Configure policies to control applications
The Mobile Application Management (MAM) functionality of Intune protects data at the application level. Through Intune, administrators can add and assign mobile apps to user groups and devices, configure apps to start or run with specific settings, track usage of apps, and more.
Intune vs Other MDM Services
Intune has the largest ecosystem of ancillary services and tools that significantly widen its scope and potential. Every service has a vendor lock to a certain extent but using Intune means businesses are less likely to have to look elsewhere due to missing features.
In fact, compared to MDM services, Intune has many features and benefits that make it stand out, including but not limited to:
- Available across multiple devices, such as Windows, iPhone/iPad,
- Android, MAC, Web-based, and Windows mobile
- Offers flexible management of mobile apps
- Monitors mobile devices and computers
- Requires no additional infrastructure for deployment
- Allows conditional access to data
- Ability to separate personal and corporate data on devices and apps
- Ability to remotely wipe data if the device is lost or stolen
- Easily integrates with other Microsoft services, such as Azure and Office 365
- Grants access to the Microsoft Graph API for workflow task automation
In essence, Microsoft Intune is a great option for protecting your devices and business against data breaches. Intune grants SMBs access to the same high-level protection that large-scale enterprises, with far bigger budgets, do. IT is not uncommon for business with as few as 5-10 employees to be using full cyber security solutions with InTune.
Getting Started with Intune as an SMB
Before the pandemic, many businesses had already been using BYOD, even if they were doing so without security in place.
The onslaught of the pandemic has forced organizations to find alternative means of doing business. This resulted in many organizations scrambling to keep afloat through remote work, without establishing the critical infrastructure for IT security.
After the pandemic, remote work is and will continue to flourish for numerous reasons. At the same time, remote work and BYOD has led to a sharp increase in cyber attacks nationwide. Security is a priority now.
Microsoft Intune is one of the most versatile solutions for small-medium businesses to manage and protect employee devices against a wide variety of cyber threats. With InTune, businesses can automatically onboard employee devices, manage corporate data, grant and block access by users, apps, and devices that do not meet your company's compliance requirements, and much more.
But the most crucial part of using InTune is setting it up correctly the first time, which is nearly impossible for SMBs that don’t have a dedicated IT team. This is where working with certified IT experts like TUCU can help you save time, money, and headache. If you’d like to learn more about how you can maximize productivity and security in remote working, reach out to TUCU Managed IT Services Inc. for a free consultation today. We offer complete IT management services, including server management, network management and cloud management.
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