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The Ins and Outs of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace

The pandemic has highlighted the adaptability and resiliency of humanity. Technology has shown how it should be used to enable businesses to work their way. Solving problems through technology to pivot and move from a centralised physical working structure to remote working.

This huge new shift in our lives has seen a permanent alteration in the way we work. For those of us who rely heavily on and work mostly with IT, we’ve discovered the joys of working from home – or in a coffee shop, or at the park. Studies have shown that those who work from home have increased productivity by 13-47%, so it’s probably not a system of work that will change soon.

Technology and IT systems have raced ahead over the last two years to deliver easier, better work from home solutions that can keep us in touch with our co-workers without having to resort to multiple phone calls and an overabundance of email attachments.

Microsoft has delivered probably the most secure, safest, scalable and most cohesive suite of services designed specifically for employees to work together, from any location.

What is the Microsoft Modern Workplace?

According to Microsoft, five key trends will reshape the future of work over the next few years:

  • Rise of digital natives
  • Blurring boundaries of time and place
  • Demand for lifelong learners
  • Shrinking shelf life of information
  • Growing impact of artificial intelligence

Because of these innovations, Microsoft believes in using technology to aid business to work smarter and more efficiently to enrich and improve people’s day to day working experience. These trends are essential in highlighting opportunities and challenges by using technology to complement and or solve what we’re facing. Enter the Modern Workplace.

Modern Workplace can be broken down into subcategories of user types:

  • How we work in a Modern Office
  • How we work in Remote Collaboration Hubs
  • How we work Remotely as Free-spirited user

Modern workplaces are designed to be able find information relevant to your day to day, have information accessible to you quickly. Provide a way of working to promote conversation and inclusion to engage staff no matter where they are. Eliminate problems and frustrations that arise when co-workers are attempting to work together from different locations, such as:

  • Poor communication
  • Shadow IT
  • Data in silos
  • Lack of cross-platforming services
  • Clunky process

The Microsoft Modern Workplace operates using the suite of Microsoft 365 productivity applications hosted in the cloud. It’s designed to allow employees flexibility; end-to-end users can work from remote locations on any of their devices.

Once, this would have posed a security risk. At the height of the global pandemic, cybersecurity threats on employees working from home soared. So, Microsoft went one step further and layered their latest Office 365 suite with security and provided Hybrid Windows 365. As well as encryption for mainstays – including SharePoint, Teams, OneDrive, and Exchange – Microsoft made further improvements with a host of security technologies.

person holding a tablet with the microsoft teams logo on it

Your post-pandemic desktop

You may already be familiar with some of the core features on offer with the Microsoft Office 365 suite, like OneDrive. Here’s a closer look at some of the newer, or updated, features integral to the modern workplace.

Microsoft Power Automate

The feature formerly known as Flow, MPA was created to relieve end-users from repetitive tasks. Among the over 200 tasks you can perform with MPA include:

  • Automate quickly and securely: use low-code, or no-code, drag-and-drop tools to automate repetitive tasks.
  • Boost efficiency: record and visualise your end-to-end processes, providing guided recommendations for creating flow and insights to choosing what to automate.
  • Enhance workflows with AI: using AI Builder, form processes quickly using document automation, process approvals, detect images and text, or create with prebuilt models. All workflows can be shared between a team.

Azure Active Directory

The backbone of the Microsoft Office 365 system, AAD is Microsoft’s enterprise cloud-based identity and access management solution. It provides SSO and multi-factor authentication to protect users from 99.9% of cybersecurity attacks.

The new world of Cloud technology has shifted the focus of security from perimeter networks to Identity and End Points, this service is critical to determine is my user logging in from a known country, location, time and or device.

Users can also access multiple applications from a single user account and only have to sign in once, rather than going through the arduous process of signing in for every app.

Microsoft Teams

The one-stop solution to working with your employees and co-workers from anywhere at any time. Teams contains secure meetings, document collaboration, and built-in cloud storage. From group chat to video conference, teams of two or up to 10,000 can talk and collaborate in real time at the touch of a button.

Teams also stores all your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Publisher docs in easy-to-find locations. Sharing and editing files with your teammates is no hassle now you don’t have to resort to multiple email attachments. Integrating with a wide array of solutions and apps, users never have to leave the team’s UI to get work done.

close up of a cell phone on a table

Modern End Point Management (Intune)

Intune is Microsoft’s cloud-based service focusing on End Point Management

  • Desktop & Laptops (Windows, MAC)
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) (IoS, Android)
  • Mobile Application Management (MAM) (Any Device)
  • Enterprise Voice Equipment (Microsoft Teams Desk Phones, Meeting Room Devices)

Intune Supports Microsoft Teams Devices, Apple iOS, Apple Mac, Google Android, Samsung Knox, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 desktop. Intune is replacing group policy and becoming the new desktop management utility of choice.

With management in Intune, admins can: 

  • Fully Manage Windows End Points without the need for a VPN
  • Add and assign mobile apps to user groups and devices
  • Configure apps to start or run with specific settings enabled
  • Check reports on which apps are used and track their usage
  • Update and Patch Management
  • Device Security and Compliance Reporting

Protecting your data from outside threat

Microsoft knows that the significant increase in mobile data usage, personal devices, and cloud adoption also brings advanced threats from cyberattack, so security was a high priority when rolling out the latest version of Office 365.

Since even Microsoft isn’t infallible when it comes to cyber threats – their security team spent New Year’s Eve 2019 patching a breach of 250 million customer service and support records – their latest cybersecurity tools include:

  • Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Office 365 Threat Intelligence
  • Azure Security Centre
  • Azure Advanced Threat Protection
  • Azure Sentinel
  • Azure Defender for Identity
  • Microsoft Information Protection
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security

Even with this formidable security package, you’re not foolproof against cyber threats. Partnering with an IT support consultant will give you that extra security measure you need to stay safe.

It’s a lot to take in

The Modern Workplace is the way of the future, and it’s proven to enhance the productivity and efficiency of businesses and organisations worldwide. Microsoft has integrated this new landscape into its Office 365 suite – but all the different apps and services, advanced cybersecurity threats, and complete digital transformation can be overwhelming when you’re making the switch.

Talk to gold Microsoft consulting partner Linktech Australia today about starting on the road to the Microsoft Modern Workplace. They’ll optimise your Microsoft 365 services, design your IT strategy, migrate your services, and help you save on Microsoft 365 licencing fees.