Numbered are the days where PCs require hands-on deployment, a line-of-site to the company network, and inconsistent user setup experiences. How, then, do we begin to fully put the past behind us and start moving toward a better endpoint deployment model? 

Microsoft has a solution! The solution exists as a trio combining the power of three cloud solutions – Entra Active Directory, Microsoft Intune, and Windows Autopilot. Combined, these tools allow a company to deliver a seamless PC deployment experience.  

Imagine ordering a laptop that is shipped to a new hire and provisioned in a way that they can login and get to work within 10–15 minutes. In this blog, we will explore how this is possible with modern endpoint administration.  

Microsoft Entra: The Foundation of Secure Identity and Access Management

Formerly Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Microsoft Entra is a comprehensive identity and access management solution. In the context of endpoint management, it serves as a cloud-based identity solution that manages user accounts and authentication methods.  

Key Features of Entra AD

User Authentication: Entra handles authentication for users across all Microsoft services, providing Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to enhance security. 

Conditional Access: With conditional access policies, Entra ensures that access to resources is only granted when certain conditions are met, reducing the risk of unauthorized access. 

Device Join: Workstations can be joined to Entra allowing devices to be managed in Entra and users to authenticate into devices with their company email address and password.  

Microsoft Intune: Comprehensive Endpoint Management

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that provides unified endpoint management for a wide range of devices, including Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS. Intune becomes the central repository through which all endpoint administration is possible. This includes policies that controls what users can access and do on a PC, the security features that can be enabled like drive encryption, and even applications that are installed (from a company-approved list, of course)!  By leveraging Intune, organizations can maintain greater control over their device security, compliance, and desired state.  

Intune’s capabilities include: 

Policy Enforcement: Intune allows IT administrators to create and enforce policies that ensure devices meet organizational security and compliance standards. 

Application Management: With Intune, administrators can deploy, update, and manage applications across all managed devices. 

Compliance Monitoring: Intune continuously monitors devices for alignment with security policies and allows options for remediation if a device falls out of compliance.  

Window’s Autopilot: Streamlined Device Deployment

Windows Autopilot allows administrators to control the setup experience. No more navigating through the various end-user license agreement pages or random setting selections. This service automates the initial setup process, making it easier than ever to get new devices ready to be used for work. Autopilot also helps with inventory management by controlling user roles, device naming conventions, and providing visibility into the provisioning process at unboxing.  

The primary benefits of Autopilot include: 

Near Zero-Touch Deployment: With Autopilot, devices can be shipped directly from the manufacturer to the end-user. Upon first boot, and with minimal user input, the device connects to the internet and begins the setup process automatically. 

User Self-Service: End-users can set up their devices simply by signing in with their corporate credentials. Autopilot takes care of the rest, applying necessary configurations and policies. 

Integration with Intune: Autopilot-configured devices are automatically enrolled in Intune, ensuring they are managed and secured from the moment they are first powered on. 

How They Work Together

The integration of Entra, Intune, and Autopilot creates this ecosystem of ease. Here is how: 

Device Registration: New devices are registered with Autopilot and linked to the organization’s Entra directory, ensuring they are recognized and managed from the outset. 

User Authentication and Enrollment: When a user receives their new device, they sign in with their Entra credentials. Entra authenticates the user, applying any necessary MFA or conditional access policies. 

Profile Application and Configuration: Autopilot connects to Intune to retrieve and apply the deployment profile assigned to the device or user. This includes security settings, applications, and configuration policies. 

Ongoing Management and Compliance: Post-deployment, Intune manages the device, enforcing policies, deploying updates, and monitoring compliance. Entra continues to handle identity and access management, ensuring secure access to resources. 

Benefits of a Cloud-Based Management Ecosystem

These solutions are key components of Microsoft’s broader strategy to modernize device deployment and management, making it easier for organizations to adopt and manage Windows devices efficiently. 

This approach delivers significant advantages that include, but are not limited to:  

– Single Pane-of-Glass Administration 

– Compliance and Standardized Security Features 

– Application Automation 

– Happy Staff 

Achieve Scalable and Secure Device Management with CBIZ CompuData 

CBIZ CompuData specializes in implementing these solutions to simplify deployment, enhance security, and centralize management. With a proven record of success, our team of experts can assist you in embracing the future of endpoint administration and bring a fresh PC deployment model to your organization. 

To learn more about how CBIZ CompuData can help you transform your endpoint management strategy, email us!

Email Us!

Author: Michael Ulrich

Michael serves customers as a Systems Engineer on CBIZ CompuData's Project Team. With nearly 10 years in the field, Michael provides expertise in systems and network engineering, project management, and solution architecture. His early career in Higher Education has enabled Michael to teach and translate technology for clients in a way that is clear and concise. Michael works exclusively with CBIZ CompuData's largest clients to design a holistic IT strategy, deliver a uniform onboarding experience, and provide a seamless transition to ongoing support and account management.