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The nature of the workplace has transformed in recent years. This evolution is due to technological advances, among economic disruptions, such as Covid-19. In today’s work, employees have the expectation to work securely from anywhere and on any device. This blog post is written for those managing productivity suites and security tools within their businesses who are looking to revolutionise their workplace by modernising it. In this article, we’ll be discussing the importance of a modern workplace for businesses while answering the question: “What is Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offering?”

What is Microsoft Modern Workplace?

Microsoft’s Modern Workplace is a stack of products designed to improve employee productivity and satisfaction by driving seamless communication, ensuring device security and compliance, and generally promoting collaboration within the business. Within the Modern Workplace offering, Microsoft boasts the inclusion of Microsoft 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, which includes a variety of productivity and collaboration tools designed to enable modern ways of working while keeping the organisation secure. For example, a Microsoft 365 E3 license would include tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Visio (web), Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Viva, and Delve. 

Addressing Key Challenges in a Remote Workplace

IT teams looking to modernise their workplace and offer remote flexibility run into three common challenges which can be addressed by Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offering:  

  1. Protecting personal and company data while allowing users to work remotely 
  2. Maintaining regulatory compliance while allowing users to work remotely  
  3. Determining how information and apps are accessed, shared, and stored, to ensure hackers do not gain access to user devices 

Microsoft has put serious thought into its Modern Workplace offerings to directly tackle the above challenges in a seamless and comprehensive way. Below, we will provide insight into how Microsoft offers businesses the ability to create a secure and remote modern workplace.   

Microsoft Teams: Driving Remote Meetings & Calls

Microsoft Teams delivers engaging experiences that can help employees work efficiently and stay connected to collaborators wherever they are and on any device. Businesses can think of Microsoft Teams as a teamwork hub that offers meetings and calls. Many customers who were previously leveraging Skype for cross-company communication, have migrated to Teams to take advantage of meeting rooms, telephony offerings, and its document management capabilities.  

Meetings within Microsoft Teams offer a high-definition audio and video experience that allows employees to interact and collaborate seamlessly, regardless of their network or device. Teams can be used for one-on-one video calls or larger conference-style meetings. Microsoft also offers Teams Live Events for hosting global live events that can be delivered to thousands of users.  

Past the collaboration on files, chat services, and conference calling, Microsoft Teams can also be used to integrate into or replace a traditional phone system. Some businesses may not be comfortable fully moving to Teams as their phone system because of security, or niche technology integration dependencies. For this reason, Microsoft Teams can complement the existing phone system. Microsoft offers a Microsoft Teams Calling Plan which acts as a telephony system directly embedded inside Teams.  

Azure and Endpoint Management: Securing Remote Work Services

An increase in remote workers means a need to deploy secure remote work capabilities to employees. Businesses can look to Microsoft for identity and access management, workplace security, mobile device management, device deployment and management, and help governing their Windows environments. When architecting a secure remote workplace, it should be noted that planning does not end with deployment. There is an ongoing management consideration that comes with running cloud systems. For this reason, it is advised to work with an IT Partner, like Afinite, that offers managed services across Azure, Microsoft 365, Windows, etc.  

Microsoft also provides the tools and support needed for identity and access management. For example, Azure Active Directory, multi-factor authentication (MFA), Single sign-on, and the monitoring of conditional access activity and policies can contribute to the identity and access management needed in a remote workplace. Once live, an IT partner, like Afinite, can provide managed services to support your business’s identity and access management infrastructure by providing support in creating roles and monitoring activities within the environment. IT partners can also help create policies and assign role-based access control to determined apps and services. Azure Active Directory (AAD) Governance can help ensure that the right employees have the right access to the right resources. Additional Enterprise Mobility and Security Features included in Microsoft’s Modern Workplace can help mitigate access risk by protecting, monitoring, and auditing access to critical company assets while ensuring employees stay productive and connected.

Often times, remote work means having to send devices such as laptops, tablets, or mobiles to other parts of the country or even world. It can also mean remote onboarding onto devices and applications. Device deployment and management services included in Microsoft’s Modern Workplace stack provide hardware and profile deployment tools like AutoPilot to provide consistent device delivery to employees. Afinite can help businesses like yours set up the automation of device deployment and through a managed services plan, continue to manage them for updates and compliance.  

Finally, Microsoft offers tools for mobile device management that aid businesses in monitoring and maintaining organisational device compliance with security controls, patch updates, and the isolation of sensitive apps when employees choose to use their own devices. Afinite can help businesses configure endpoint management as part of device deployment projects and in turn ensure that devices are properly enrolled and compliant. 

Getting Started With Modern Workplace Offerings

Now that you’re aware of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Offerings, you may be curious about how to get started in your implementation of the tools available to you. Afinite can work with you to: 

  • Understand your business’s objectives and envisioning priority scenarios to enable secure work from anywhere 
  • Develop a plan for implementation of a secure work from anywhere, including Microsoft Teams, securing mobile access, and foundational identity and security 
  • Define activation plans, along with risks and mitigations, for a successful deployment and option plan 

Afinite can also help you assess a migration strategy, should you currently be working with another tool. Microsoft also offers a program called FastTrack which comes at no additional cost for businesses with eligible subscriptions to Microsoft 365, Azure or Dynamics 365. FastTrack can help businesses migrate to and deploy Microsoft cloud solutions.  

Conclusion

In a world where remote work is becoming the new normal, envisioning and realising a modern workplace should be every business’s top priority. Not only will your organisation attract top talent, but you will be able to drive productivity and efficiency while retaining employees. Microsoft’s Modern Workplace suite of products can help businesses create flexible and agile workplaces with the proper tooling and services.

The team at Afinite are experts when it comes to supporting businesses migrate to Microsoft Modern Workplace, and we provide a no-obligation quote. If you are interested to know more then please give us a call today to discuss your options on 0113 887 3999.

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