Today’s small businesses usually have to rely on a mix of both personal and professional devices to make sure their employees have all the access they need when they need it. But safely deploying and managing desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets is a challenge of its own.
To successfully overcome it, businesses need to streamline their device deployment activities to reduce end-user issues, lower labor costs associated with managing them, and maintain healthy security, among other things.
What Is Device Deployment and Why It’s Important?
Device deployment really means all activities necessary to bring an electronic device to its intended user with the right settings, applications, and access. These activities typically include everything from vendor research and purchasing all the way through device configuration and the delivery of ready-to-go devices to users.
Back when the average small business had just a handful of desktop computers connected to the same network which were running one or two business applications, device deployment was relatively straightforward. The activities associated with it didn’t take much time.
But times have changed, and most small businesses today want their employees to have everything they need in quickly changing world. This includes an increasingly broad range of devices, which usually need to be replaced on a regular basis to ensure the best performance and security possible. Companies that rely on inefficient device deployment strategies are discovering just how time-consuming it can be.
What’s worse, some businesses still rely on manual processes and therefore don’t have the ability to set up devices quickly and easily with the right settings. This is usually because they feel that they “don’t have the time to set up a device deployment plan” and they ultimately forget to configure critical security settings on a device here or there. This is like leaving the front door unlocked for cybercriminals to come in.
Tips to Ensure a Successful Device Deployment
The following tips can help you ensure a successful device deployment, so we highly recommend making them part of your device deployment strategy.
Make Sure You’re Deploying the Right Device
Regardless of if you want to give your office admin a new PC or provide your sales people with company-owned smartphones, you are guaranteed to have many, many options to choose from, and you need to research them carefully to make sure you’re deploying the right device.
Besides specifications and price, you should also pay close attention to support and warranties. Many Android devices, for example, only receive security updates for two years before their manufacturers move on to newer models. On the other hand, there are manufacturers, such as Samsung, whose flagship Android devices get up to five years of updates.
Take Advantage of MDM (Mobile Device Management) Software
Every device that has access to your network represents a potential open door that cyberattackers can sneak through. To prevent criminals from turning an employee’s smartphone or laptop into their Trojan horse, you need to maintain control over it from the moment of deployment to decommissioning.
MDM (Mobile Device Management) software solutions allow IT administrators to deploy and manage devices running different operating systems in a centralized way. Businesses that take advantage of MDM can extend their security policies across all devices, better comply with data protection regulations, easily troubleshoot problems remotely, and more. And all at the click of a few buttons.
A good example of a popular MDM solution that small businesses can use to control their devices is Microsoft Intune. This MDM solution can be combined with another Microsoft product, Autopilot, to enable the remote deployment of pre-configured new devices directly to employees.
Decide if You Want to Let Employees Use Their Devices for Personal Purposes
We live in the age of hybrid work arrangements that give employees the flexibility to get work done when and where they’re most productive. However, businesses that want to use hybrid work to their advantage have an additional device deployment challenge to solve because employees working from outside the confines of the physical office need some kind of work-approved devices on which they can access work-related applications and data.
These work-approved devices can be used strictly for work, or employees can be allowed to used them for personal purposes as well. Some businesses let employees bring their own devices (BYOD), while others let them choose their own devices (CYOD), or they provide them with company-owned, personally-enabled (COPE) devices. Regardless of which of these deployment models you choose, you must always make device security your top priority.
Don’t Take This on Alone if Resources are Tight
Device deployment and management is inherently time consuming, especially for hybrid remote work environments. Managed Services Providers like us have advanced tools that capture the device network, organizes them, tracks which are using which programs, monitors their security, and keeps them on an update schedule. Most of this is handled automatically, but it takes a little strategy and set up to make sure it runs smoothly. Beyond that, there’s the employee on- and off-boarding activities that necessitate adjustments to the device list. You don’t have to do all of this on your own. Contact us today to talk about how we can take this time-consuming and security-sensitive set of activities off your plate and keep your users’ uptime constant.