With the growing global pandemic, tech giants have been taking several measures such as aborting tech events, encouraging employees to work from home, banning business travels and other such. Recently, Nathalie D’Hers from Microsoft’s Core Services Engineering and Operations (CSEO) discussed in a blog post the top 9 ways that the team at Microsoft is enabling remote work for such a large workforce.
These ways involves tools, resources, and solutions to be as productive, creative, and secure as possible while working from any location and on any device. They are mentioned below:
- User Identity and Access: Microsoft has a hybrid environment that helps to both retain and expand existing systems while using a cloud-based control plane to enable people to work productively and securely.
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): MFA is required to access any corporate resource at Microsoft. The company offers three authentication methods which certificate-backed virtual and physical smart cards, Windows Hello for Business (with PIN or biometric sign-in), and Azure Multi-factor Authentication.
- Managing Devices: Microsoft is using a co-management approach with Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM) which integrates Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager into a single console where users can manage all the endpoints and apps and take action to ensure they are secure and reliable.
- Productivity Applications: The tech giant has been driving the employees to work in the cloud. For instance, Microsoft 365 enables users to access resources and share files with Office apps across the web, mobile, and desktop, storing their content in the cloud by default. The users are also able to do real-time coauthoring and commenting in documents in the cloud, which has proved useful for a distributed workforce.
- Meetings and Collaboration: Microsoft use Teams daily for chat, meetings, calls, and collaboration.
- Access to Line of Business (LOB) Applications: Even with most of the applications accessible in the cloud, some still require VPN. This is why the company is in the process of rolling out Windows Virtual Desktop.
- Service Monitoring: With the increased load and usage from so many people working remotely, service monitoring has proven crucial to making sure everything is operating as it should.
- Culture and Change Management: Remote work can create challenges to maintaining a healthy work culture and managing change. To make sure of the shared best practices, the CSEO team recently held an 18-hour global live event to drive employee connections, engagement, and learning.
- Designing for Specific Roles: According to Nathalie, the above discussed points benefit mostly the information workers. For the other type of workers such as firstline workers, developers, among others it is important to connect all workers so that they are equipped with the knowledge to take appropriate steps for themselves, customers, and the community.
Nathalie further discussed that enabling a team to work remotely is an ongoing challenge and it varies among organisations. She added, “I hope you find them useful, but I also understand that Microsoft has IT resources that many IT leaders may not. What is more, every company is at a different stage of their journey to the cloud.”