Desktop and Mobile Device Management Automation
Routine desktop administration tasks such as applying updates and patches and provisioning or decommissioning devices consume the lion's share of a network administrator's time. The new BYOD style of computing makes things even more challenging for network managers, who have to provide secure access to corporate resources for a variety of smartphones and tablets running a mix of operating systems. Intelligently selecting and properly utilizing the tools available to automate device management can save money, increase system stability and performance, improve worker productivity, strengthen security, and free IT personnel to focus on strategic projects that can give your business a competitive advantage.

Progent's network consultants are experienced in helping organizations of any size to establish efficient internal processes, train desktop administrators, and integrate appropriate software tools in order to streamline administration and make sure that desktop PCs and mobile devices remain current, secure, dependable, and productive.

Common tools for managing Windows desktops include the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), configuring Active Directory Group Policy settings, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), and PowerShell scripts. For small businesses with relatively few installed desktop PCs, the basic set of desktop management tools and mechanisms provided by Microsoft can deliver a reasonable level of automation as long as they are combined with smart and consistent administrative procedures. For larger networks, Microsoft offers advanced desktop management capability with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which supersedes the end-of-life Systems Management Server platform. Progent's Microsoft-certified engineers offer expert System Center Configuration Manager support to help companies follow industry best practices to manage their desktops efficiently.

For managing Internet-facing mobile devices including most smartphones and tablets, Progent offers Microsoft Intune consulting services as well as iPhone and iPad integration, Android phone and tablet consulting, and RIM BlackBerry expertise. Progent can also help you integrate SCCM with Intune to provide a unified, single-console solution for managing your domain-joined desktop PCs along with your Cloud-connected mobile devices. In addition, Progent provides management outsourcing services for small businesses who want to save money and eliminate hassle by relying on Progent's certified professionals to handle their desktop management.

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager ConsultantsSystem Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is used to manage the great majority of enterprise PCs worldwide. SCCM centralizes and simplifies tasks like OS and application deployment and updating, inventorying and reporting on hardware and software assets, plus setting and enforcing policies. System Center Configuration Manager can be thought of as a vastly enhanced evolution of Microsoft's Systems Management Server 2003 (SMS 2003) combined with other popular software update platforms from Microsoft such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). The traditional strengths of SMS Server 2003 for asset inventory, granular distribution targeting, bandwidth management, software metering, and detailed reporting have all been improved and expanded in System Center Configuration Manager.

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM 2012) features a broad array of improvements over SCCM 2007. These new and enhanced capabilities include:

  • Support for Windows 10
    You can provision Windows 10 PCs using wipe-and-load or in-place techniques, plus you can side-load your own Universal Windows apps to Windows 10 computers. SCCM 2012 can work with Windows Server 2012 R2 and can also manage Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers.
  • Improved Mobile Device Management
    A self-service Company Portal app allows users of iOS devices to manage their passwords, download authorized corporate applications, enroll and unenroll their devices, and wipe corporate content from unenrolled devices. An agent for current Android smartphones and tablets permits users to manage compliance settings such as password, camera, and data encryption. Android users can also directly install apps. Any devices enrolled as Company-owned can be inventoried.
  • Built-in Endpoint Protection
    Integrated Endpoint Protection allows you to control antimalware policies and Windows Firewall security for devices in your SCCM 2012 hierarchy. Endpoint Protection is an enhanced version of Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 but does not require its own separate installation. An integrated dashboard is supported by SCCM 2012's new Configuration Manager console and offers new reports that are part of SCCM's reporting features.
  • The New Central Administration Site
    The new central administration site coordinates intersite data replication and helps in tracking and reporting on all hierarchy sites and objects as well as configuring settings for client agents and discovery. The central administration site replaces the SCCM 2007 central site at the top of the hierarchy but is not functionally a primary site.
  • The New Configuration Manager Console
    SCCM 2012 introduces the Configuration Manager console, which can connect to a central administration site or to a primary site. The new console groups operations into the logical workspaces Assets and Compliance, Software Library, Monitoring, and Administration. Search functions can be accessed throughout the Configuration Manager console, which also offers a browse-and-verify feature to prevent configuration errors and to help isolate problems.
  • Connectivity Profiles
    VPN and Wi-Fi profiles make it easy to configure devices with the settings and certificates needed for connecting to corporate networks or secured Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Expanded Reporting
    SCCM 2012 is integrated with SQL Server Reporting Services Report Builder for creating model-based and SQL-based reports. Data for reports are filtered according to permissions related to the roles held by the administrator generating the report.
  • Integration with Microsoft Intune for Managing Cloud-connected Mobile Devices
    SCM 2012 infrastructure can be seamlessly integrated with Intune, allowing the SCCM 2012 console to be used as the single pane of glass for managing domain-joined and Cloud-connected devices. This hybrid on-premise/Cloud management environment supports unified control of PCs, Macs, Linux and UNIX servers, iPhones and iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, and Windows devices.

How Progent Can Assist You with System Center Configuration Manager
SCCM 2012 System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager is an enterprise-class configuration management solution that, when properly deployed, dramatically cuts management time and expense, enhances worker output, and improves security and compliance. However, to achieve the full potential of SCCM 2012 demands meticulous planning that addresses your network infrastructure, business goals, security and compliance needs, and budgetary restrictions. Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants have the knowledge and experience to assist companies of all sizes to design efficient site hierarchies for SCCM 2012, define and enforce appropriate policies, integrate local and Cloud-based network architectures, and find the right balance between management control and user productivity in environments that include a combination of company-owned and personally owned devices of all types.

Progent can help you migrate legacy versions of SCCM or from System Management Server to SCCM 2012. Progent can also help you design and carry out an efficient Windows Server 2012 R2 migration to provide an up-to-date infrastructure for SCCM 2012.

To find out more about Progent's consulting services for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

Microsoft Intune
Microsoft Intune ConsultantsMicrosoft Intune dovetails with System Center2012 Configuration Manager by providing configuration management for Internet-facing mobile devices that are Cloud-connected rather than domain joined to the corporate network. Intune provides a comprehensive set of Cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM), Mobile Application Management (MAM), and PC management capabilities. In addition, you can integrate Intune with SCCM 2012 to create a unified change management solution across your SCCM 2012 infrastructure and Microsoft Azure's Cloud infrastructure. Intune is a subscription service licensed per user, where each user can have multiple devices. This aligns well with the modern BYOD style of computing. Intune is available as a stand-alone service or as part of Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), which includes Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium and Microsoft Azure Rights Management. Important features of Intune within its three categories of functionality include:

Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Advanced Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems must provide mobile device users with convenient access to the corporate resources they need to do their jobs, but without compromising security and compliance requirements. MDM solutions must also make it easy to manage the crowd of popular mobile devices and operating systems that has become the norm for today's BOYD style of computing. Microsoft Intune meets these challenges by delivering a feature-rich solution that includes secure self-service capabilities, fine-grained policy management, and extensive control over access to corporate data and services.

Mobile Application Management (MAM)
Mobile Application Management (MAM) has to do with applying policies to mobile device applications that limit or eliminate certain functions within apps that could otherwise pose a security threat to corporate data. For example, an administrator could restrict a managed app from executing the Save As command or the cut-and-paste function in order to prevent sensitive information from being leaked. Intune offers a continually expanding selection of MAM capabilities for managed applications running on mobile devices powered by Windows, Apple iOS, and Google Android. These MAM capabilities include built-in MAM functions for Office 365 apps, a managed web browser that allows managers to limit access to specified sites, a secure PDF viewer and AV player, and the ability to wipe selected data (as opposed to all data) from devices that are retired, out of compliance, or lost.

PC Management
For computers that are not enrolled as mobile devices with Intune, you have the option of installing Intune client agent software that runs on the PC. Current versions of Windows offer the option of being managed as enrolled Intune mobile devices or via the Intune client agent. The Intune client agent enables centralized management of PCs and supports functions that include policy-based software deployment and firewall configuration, app management, Endpoint Protection, asset and configuration inventory, automated software updates, and compliance monitoring.

How Progent Can Help You with Microsoft Intune
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you evaluate the business case for using Intune to manage your mobile devices. Progent can help you design and build a pilot system to assess whether Intune is an appropriate tool for your situation, and Progent offers comprehensive project management services or task-based consulting to help you upgrade to Intune from a legacy change management platform. Progent can also help you integrate Intune with System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager to create an advanced, single-console configuration management solution for your entire enterprise. In addition, Progent can help you understand and activate the MAM capabilities of Intune with Office 365 applications, integrate Intune with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and analyze your Intune security policies to make sure they align with industry best practices, your internal standards, and regulatory compliance requirements.

32-bit to 64-bit Operating System Migration
Migration of a desktop PC from a 32-bit to a 64-bit operating system presents special problems for desktop administrators and requires special methodologies and software tools to carry out efficiently and successfully. If you are moving to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 from a 32-bit version of Windows, you have to install the target computer from scratch while at the same time dealing with possible application incompatibilities and new drivers. This can be a frustrating process when you do it for the first time. Progent's 64-bit computing consultants and Windows 10 migration experts can help you plan and carry efficient desktop operating system upgrades on individual workstations or on large groups of desktop PCs so that save time, eliminate manual errors, and limit service disruption.

If your business network needs any of the support services available from Progent, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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