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By January 2020, every company in the world will have upgraded to Windows 10 because that's the date Microsoft will end-of-life Windows 7 (and nobody in their right mind will upgrade to Windows 8). You can't do this kind of upgrade overnight so CIOs around the world need to start planning. It's spring cleaning time and IT teams should start throwing out old PC security and management tools and looking at modern technologies for Windows 10 PCs.

While mobile and BYOD represented the first great wave of change for the industry, now policies like wear-your-own-device and the proliferation of IoT at enterprise level, means IT departments are having to reconsider device management and security protocols on an unprecedentedscale.

Tasked with navigating this increasingly complex web of devices, today’s Head of IT is constantly faced with sweeping cultural changes across the workplace and the need to rethink security practices for external devices entering the corporate firewall.

To date, the management of both PCs and mobiles devices has generally been via a costly and confusing hybrid model, in which PCs are managed by traditional tools, and mobile devices are managed by modern ones.

Today, there is a way to manage both traditional PCs and mobile devices while dramatically reducing PC TCO costs. Worldwide leading analyst firms like IDC, Gartner and Forester have pointed to enterprise mobility management (EMM) platforms to manage these changes. This makes sense - mobile has changed the enterprise IT infrastructure and users are no longer tied to desktop PCs.

The foundation of EMM

The evidence of how this is reshaping IT infrastructures is perhaps most notable in Windows 10. Beneath the bonnet, there are some radical changes that address the enterprise challenge of managing both mobile devices and desktops.

Windows 10 supports the modern model of security and management or, in other words, EMM. Unlike traditional management approaches, EMM is powerful and agile, dovetailing both PC and mobile management and leading to significant TCO reductions.

Many IT departments are already familiar with EMM. However, until now there have been some gaps in the EMM model that effectively put a brake on IT admins fully adopting it. IT managers should look for models which close these gaps by leveraging advancements in Windows 10.

Windows 10 revolution

Windows 10 enables IT departments to migrate PCs from client management tools like Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager, LANDESK, and Symantec’s IT Management Suite to EMM platforms. EMM moves traditional legacy PC management away from a hard coded image to a context-based policy.

The legacy approach is dependent on installing and managing a complex system image on the PC. Devices have to join a domain that is governed by a set of group policy objects which controls what employees can and cannot do on a PC. However, this approach lacks the flexibility needed to manage intermittently connected mobile devices, which enterprise users are adopting at a much faster rate than legacy, domain-joined devices.

This is why Windows 10 is ground breaking. It has been re-architected to move beyond client management tools and support EMM. It eliminates high-touch processes such as image management and device provisioning. It operates over the air and doesn’t require IT to manually configure a device - all of which reduces TCO for PCs.

A bridge between traditional and modern

Previously, EMM could only secure and manage the modern half of the Windows operating system using mobile device management (MDM) protocols. This provided significant controls to the administrator but these protocols did not meet all of the PC security and management objectives.

Now, some EMM providers have addressed these issues. New offerings push an application to the PC at the time of device enrolment. By adding this application to the legacy portion of the operating systems, admins can now use the same protocols to send instructions to both sections and allow greater control using both MDM APIs and group policy object commands delivered via PowerShell scripts to the device.

80 percent TCO

IT departments should look for the ability to use the same MDM protocols to send information to the legacy sections of the Windows 10 OS. By using this approach, TCO figure for PC management can be reduced by up to 80 percent depending on deployment environments.

It’s clear that these all-encompassing platforms are instrumental in helping achieve these cost savings. IT organisations can move away from a costly and confusing hybrid model to one where all devices can be managed from a single pane of glass.

A datasheet we have produced provides further details on this but in brief, IT organisations can now focus on increasing overall productivity with greater efficiency, agility and at a lower cost. At the same time, security is assured across the enterprise for mobile computing.

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