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Zero-touch deployment: easy, automatic, and wireless

It’s important to have a seamless experience for customers from point of sale to post-purchase. One key element that helps accomplish this goal across the IT-verse is the ability to deploy new hardware and software with zero-touch.

Zero-touch deployment is one of the more recent tools that has gained traction among software and hardware companies worldwide. The method offers businesses higher levels of security and efficiency; it allows their employees to set up their new devices without requiring assistance from IT teams.

50% of IT managers say they spend too much time managing devices, and over a quarter of workers imply that they would leave their current job because of poor workplace technology; the benefits of smart technology deployment are obvious.

Zero-touch deployment is now an essential element of app management that helps enterprises move quicker at digital transformation. It has all the shining appeal of simplified, time-saving set-up: it’s easy, automatic, and wireless.

What is zero-touch deployment?

“Zero-touch”, when used in the IT spectrum, generally means the automation of a process that used to be done manually. Here, it refers to the process in which the required settings, configurations, and applications are automatically set to run on a device without the need for any IT intervention, which makes the device ready for use as soon as it’s unboxed.

Tech giants themselves says that this method allows you to “automatically enrol devices in your mobile device management (MDM) solution without having to physically touch or prep the devices before users get them. With your MDM solution, you can further simplify the set-up process for users by removing specific steps in Set-up Assistant, so users are up and running quickly.”

The process:

  • The user connects their device to the internet
  • Once connected, a new image containing all the necessary files and software for the operating system is uploaded to the device automatically
  • The user has no interaction with their device during this process
  • Once the upload is complete, the user can begin using their device

The automation is extremely helpful as it saves both time and money, which would have normally been wasted on manually deploying updates at scale. It also means less downtime at customer sites, as the usual wait for shipping or technician availability is removed.

One example of a zero-touch deployment is an operating system installation on a new computer. Traditionally, people would receive physical media (DVDs or USB drives) with their software pre-loaded onto it. Today, many people purchase laptops and computers directly from the manufacturer with the operating system already installed. Manufacturers are able to load up devices with an operating system by using specialised imaging tools that automate the installation process.

Microsoft Autopilot: the zero-touch deployment foundation

An example of hardware manufactured with zero-touch deployment at its foundation is Windows 10 and 11 Autopilot. It uses a set of technologies that enables companies to set-up and preconfigure Windows 10 devices. IT teams are able to work with the manufacturers and device distributors to set up deployment profiles and application configurations depending on the users’ roles within the organisation.

Windows Autopilot works in conjunction with the Microsoft 365 suit, including Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune. It’s reduced the process of configuring devices by an estimated average of 25 minutes per device.

laptop computer on top of a wooden table

Using Intune to deploy devices

By using Microsoft Intune, you can manage your employees’ devices and applications – including security, settings, and features – with greater control and efficiency. The process is simple: your users enroll in Intune, and then receive your rules and settings through the policies configured into Intune.

Intune offers users greater security benefits; you can set password and PIN requirements, threat protection, and create VPN connection, all before your employees deploy their new devices. Once they’ve enrolled with Intune, your pre-arranged settings are ready to go and deploy as soon as the user turns on the device.

For users who want to use their own devices, or Bring Your Own Device users (more on this in a moment), you can limit your control on the device but still retain protection policies. For example, some users may only require access to their work email, or Microsoft Teams.

The Manage devices with Microsoft Endpoint Manager interactive guide can take you through the entire process step-by-step to show you how to use Intune for zero-touch deployment when managing and protecting your users’ devices.

More flexibility for BYOD

In this pandemic world, employees have grown accustomed to being able to work from home (or any other landscape) with ease on their own devices. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model has grown rapidly in popularity across all industries, but it has also brought with it security challenges for IT teams.

Zero-touch deployment alleviates many of the security issues in the BYOD model. Employees can continue to use the devices that they prefer, but managers and IT employees can ensure that the devices are deployed and managed securely, with all the essential tools necessary to maintain productivity and efficiency.

With employees everywhere indicating that they prefer the option to work remotely, the set-up process for new devices can no longer be built around in-house IT policies and procedures. Zero-touch is the perfect hands-off scalable model for forward-thinking organisations, and should be central to your future device deployment plans.

How’s the security?

The foremost priority of any new device – its security capabilities. Manual deployment methods are time-consuming, complicated, and usually require assistance from an IT team. It’s also the time when devices are at their most vulnerable – malicious actors have the easiest time getting into your system when you have virtually no defences up and running yet.

Zero touch completely avoids this momentary lapse of alertness; it quickly enrols all the company’s security capabilities during the device’s automatic set-up. While not completely fool-proof, it does give you that extra layer of security that it always so vital.

To wrap it up…

Zero-touch deployment has fully changed the way new devices can be set up and rolled out en masse. What once took tedious hours of manual labour is now a simple matter of hitting the power button and connecting to a network, then turning your attention to other matters while your device takes care of itself.

To find out more about how to integrate zero-touch deployment with your organisation’s new devices, contact the IT experts at Linktech Australia and make your next device set-up painless, seamless, and simple.