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5 min read

A Beginner’s Guide to Windows Device Management

5 min read

Katja Keinänen

Although Macs have gained popularity in business use, Windows devices have not lost their dominant position. Today’s organizations are still heavily relying on Windows laptops and desktops, across all device manufacturers, to manage their daily tasks.

Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions make it easy to manage Windows desktops and laptops remotely. If you are looking for a scalable way to manage your Windows devices and consider implementing an MDM solution in your organization, this guide is for you.

In this article, we are going to cover:

From on-premise to cloud-based Windows management

Windows devices have been traditionally managed with on-premise solutions that are tied to a certain location and require maintenance. However, as remote and hybrid work has increased, these on-premise solutions do not always respond to the needs of modern work.

During the past few years, many companies have started to look for more flexible, cloud-based device management options, and using MDM for Windows management has gained popularity.

Therefore, during the past few years, many companies have started to look for more flexible, cloud-based device management options, and using MDM for Windows management has gained popularity. In this guide, we focus on covering the essentials of managing Windows computers with MDM.

  • Cloud-based solutions, like Miradore, are a great option for companies that are either getting started with device management or do not want to invest in additional hardware or maintain a “big IT management engine". They are well-suited for modern organizations that want to support remote work and ensure a proper level of security. Cloud-based tools offer flexibility as you do not have to set up servers, and you can get started fast with the possibility to scale up when needed.
  • On-premise solutions are a more traditional way of managing Windows devices. They are a good option for bigger enterprises or IT Service Providers that need to manage big IT environments or set up internal corporate networks. However, using on-premise solutions require additional hardware and ongoing maintenance.

Blog: Modern Workplace: What does it mean for IT management?

Which Windows devices can be managed with MDM?

In general, most Windows devices that are meant for business use can be managed with MDM. However, Windows 7 and Windows 8 devices do not support the MDM protocol which is a requirement when managing devices with an MDM solution. Therefore, MDM is more suited for Windows 10 and Windows 11 management.

Although some MDM solutions offer a “lighter” device management possibility through a separate client application, we recommend using devices running the latest OS versions, Win 10 and Win 11. Not only does upgrading your devices help you keep them secure, but it also enables more extensive device management options.

Benefits of centralized Windows device management

Managing Windows devices centrally with MDM saves a lot of time and ensures that employees can work efficiently and securely. Here are some of the biggest advantages of centralized Windows management:

Save time by standardizing processes

      • Enroll and configure new devices up to 30 minutes faster according to a unified company policy.
      • Prevent errors caused by manual device installation.
      • Manage your entire fleet easily as it grows.
      • Update devices and software remotely.

Enable your device users to work efficiently

      • Give your employees fully configured devices on their first day of work with access to all necessary resources.
      • Ensure a smooth device user experience by managing application installations and device settings remotely.
      • Support your device users easily with remote assistance.

Ensure security and minimize risks

      • Prevent issues in advance by having full visibility over your device fleet.
      • Protect your company against financial and reputational risks by keeping your devices and company data safe.
      • Stay compliant with increasing data protection regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA.
      • Manage your budgets with reporting that is based on real-time device information.

Person using a Windows laptop

Enrolling Windows devices to MDM

The first step of managing your devices is enrolling them to your MDM platform. Windows devices can be enrolled one by one but most organizations that manage multiple devices enroll them in bulk. For bulk MDM enrollment, you can use a provisioning package and set unified configurations on each of them.

If you are using Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory (AD) for identity and access management, you can use that for enrolling your devices. Azure AD is Microsoft’s cloud-based service that helps device users to sign in and access applications and other necessary resources but also enables you to automatically enroll Windows devices to MDM. When enrolling devices, you need to either join your Windows devices to Azure AD or add a workplace account to them.

If you are managing your devices with Miradore, during device enrollment, Miradore Client is pushed to Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices automatically. This enables you to gain access to more advanced management features, such as patch management, advanced application deployment, and more extensive hardware inventory data collection.

Seven most essential MDM features for Windows

Once you have enrolled your devices, you can use various MDM features to manage and secure them. You can, for example, add configurations and applications on devices or create company-wide policies that are applied automatically to all your devices.

Here are the most essential features you should know of:

1. Reporting, analytics, and health monitoring

MDM collects real-time hardware and software inventory of your managed devices, which helps you monitor the health and status of your devices. You can easily view information, such as:

      • Device models, versions, and serial numbers
      • Operating system (OS) and BIOS versions
      • Installed memory and free disk space
      • Installed applications and network connections
      • Available system and application updates
      • Disk encryption status

2. Configurations and restrictions

Some of the core MDM features include device configurations and restrictions. With MDM, you can configure email accounts, Wi-Fi, and VPN (Virtual Private Network) settings or define system settings (e.g., power management and desktop settings) for your devices.

Typically, you find a selection of the most common configuration and restriction options built into your MDM software. If you have a technical background, you might also be able to add your own custom configurations utilizing Windows Configuration Service Provider (CSP). Windows CSP is an interface used in cloud-based solutions and it corresponds to Group Policy used in on-premise solutions.

3. Automation of device setups

You can automate the deployment of core settings to your Windows devices which helps you save time and ultimately ensures that all devices comply with your company policy. You can easily configure Wi-Fi settings, password policy, drive encryption, and applications on your devices at once.

4. Device and data security

One of the biggest reasons for managing Windows devices with MDM is the ability to protect devices and sensitive data. This helps you stay compliant with prevailing regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA. You can enable BitLocker drive encryption, define password policy, and keep your devices up to date with the latest patches.

5. Application management

With MDM, you can install, manage, and update applications on Windows computers remotely. This way you can easily ensure that your device users always have the necessary applications available on their devices.

6. Patch management

Patch management is an essential part of Windows management. It helps you fix security vulnerabilities and make sure that your devices are running the latest software versions. With Miradore, you can detect new software and OS patches, run a test on a pilot group, and finally, deploy new patches to devices.

7. Windows updates

MDM makes it easy to control Windows OS (operating system) updates. You can configure when and how Windows updates are installed on devices.

Check all Miradore's features for Windows

Windows MDM with Miradore

Miradore supports the management of Windows devices running Windows 7 and newer. In addition to Windows, Miradore also enables you to manage all your Android and Apple devices in the same portal, making it easier to take control of your entire device fleet.

Getting started is easy — you can create your account in a few simple steps and start enrolling your devices immediately. You can use our Free plan for as long as you want and upgrade when you want to take additional features into use.

 

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Katja Keinänen Author background

by Katja Keinänen

Katja works as an Inbound Marketing Manager at Miradore and she enjoys transforming technical jargon into easily understandable content pieces.

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