Tag: ModernManagement

Use of personal devices for work, as well as employees working outside the office, may be changing how your organization manages devices. Certain parts of your organization might require deep, granular control over devices, while other parts might seek lighter, scenario-based management that empowers the modern workforce. Windows 10 offers the flexibility to respond to these changing requirements, and can easily be deployed in a mixed environment. You can shift the percentage of Windows 10 devices gradually, following the normal upgrade schedules used in your organization with Microsoft EndPoint Manager.

how to build your Zero Trust modern workplace with Microsoft 365

how to build your Zero Trust modern workplace with Microsoft 365

Thank you so much for reading my blog about: How to build your modern workplace with Microsoft 365. In this article I’ve written an high-level approach of an implementation and shift from a more traditional organization towards a cloud focused organization. I would love to receive feedback in in the comment, on Linkedin or Twitter. Also read: The value of Microsoft 365 E3 and E5.

This blog is describing the strategic, high-level possibilities how Microsoft 365 can help you, as an organization to be ready for a modern future.

Strategy and vision

Welcome in 2021. The world has changed since Covid-19…

Organizations are struggling to anticipate better on their workforce to help and achieve their ultimate goals.

To collaborate better, to get in contact different than before a more modern approach is necessary – change is required. I don’t want to go to deep in the fact that it is becoming a huge challenge for CIO’s and IT Manager since the world has shifted into a new era. Working different has become a new standard. And the change driver is from the outside towards inside. It is happening — there is no way not to accept the signals and facts. There is no way, not to change.

When mapping these challenges on the technological needs of today I’ve summed up some topics that will come back in my article, later. The main challenges are:

  • To connect people to collaborate in a different way with new technical possibilities – Keeping in mind that the experience needs to be great. It should be simple. Transparent. Team driven, no individuality.
  • To use proven standards that do work – because they are used in multiple organizations. The slowness of not believing these standards and references and going the own way is killing organizations from within. This results in slow implementation speed – lack of confidence and trust which results in over thinking. And conclusion: failing.
  • To provide the right tools that do work for organizations – In a modern world – without the fence of physical locations and more important with the same security level as in the early on-premise days.
  • To be fast enough and accelerate your business goals. Timing = everything — Lack of speed = lack of relevance.
  • To get you security maturity in order, better, safer, to grow to a technical safer workplace – this is more important than ever. If you see the cyber Risk trends growing, somethings needs to change.

Companies are working different than before. And I trully believe that the one that is most adaptable to change do survive.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

The traditional corporate infrastructure is isolated of the outside world

As you can see in this picture that’s is brought by Microsoft in the zero-trust concept organization did build great solutions in their datacenters on their premises. In their decentralized redundant datacenters with everything in place to have their DRP and failover working great. I’m not bashing on smart people which did a great job fixing these massive complex integration to keep everything running 24/7, in their de-central service centers / data centers.

The problem is, the solution is… As I’ve mentioned in my last point. Organizations did a great job, on their premises to get everything working as it should.

Disruptive of cloud organizations as Microsoft, Amazon and Google came with scalable and relative quick-deployable solutions. Solutions that didn’t require the technical need of the on-premise or ‘self-owned’ of Infrastructure on premises. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that were isolated from these corporate environments with plug and play capabilities to most important leverage solutions for these organizations – and this is the most important aspect of it all. Solutions for organizations, to achieve more. The get to the ultimate goals of these organizations. Non technical driven scenario’s, business case and business scenario’s. I think we are somewhat naïf not understanding why disruptive came. It is mainly because we were not able to adapt on changes required to make our organizations more modern. With high speed implementation. Image a new Office 365 customer in a cloud scenario. With: Exchange, Sharepoint, Teams, mobile device management. They can start after some hours of implementation. Image this setup on- premises. How long will it take? Perspective = everything.

A new concept of layered approach which kills the fish tank within corporate infrastructure

In the picture below you will see the corporate datacenter with all servers running in virtualized state, segmented with additional security solutions. Segmentation on networking storage and many more services. It’s so extreme complex. One mistake could impact everything. next to mistakes: Ransomware, targeted-attacks, phishing attacks,.. and all other bad-actors took this opportunity to infiltrate and bring this infrastructure down. Sell data. Bottom-line: it became so complex to react on all aspect of just only the core infrastructure where your servers and services are.

Microsoft didn’t invented the layered approach when it comes to: Identity, Devices, Services, Data and Network. It’s no new model nor real solution that fixes any problem. No, it’s a way of understanding and integration of your assets to bring them in a layered solution where it cannot touch the asset next to it. And isolation was always the biggest problem of own infrastructure. Even when your organization is huge it’s still extremely hard to take everything under control and secured. The right conclusion: Layered approach.

Building your foundation identity management solution

Almost every organization did start with Microsoft Active Directory Servers/services with Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003. Upgraded to more future-proof versions to integrate better. More features, more integration capabilities, more security. Newer versions.

Cloud solutions came disruptive like BPOS, Office 365 and we did integrated our current infrastructure with Identity federation solutions as Microsoft FIM to provision our on-premise active-directory ‘accounts’ towards Azure Active Directory. Later the process was well optimized to bring all on-premises identities in sync with Azure AD connect. A modern tool that helps extending your current on-premise Active directory to Azure Active Directory. But we didn’t thought Office 365 was the most important part of our core organization.

Azure Active Directory is different than Active Directory On-premise. Is has more features and a more security baselines than a Active Directory server. I’m not saying that Azure AD is by design more secure. I’m saying the options are there to start with a better secure platform. Building blocks. Easier for activations as for example: Azure AD Security Defaults. Maximum value, less complexity faster implementation speed.

Enterprise hybrid cloud solution to extend to Office 365 and Azure

Before 2020 a lot of organizations shifted workloads from their on-premises systems infrastructure to Office 365. The most common workload was Exchange On-premise to Exchange Online. Later these workloads did shifted in the Office 365 landscape. For example:

  • Fileservers became -> OneDrive, SharePoint or Microsoft Teams
  • SharePoint on-premise -> Hybrid -> SharePoint Online
  • Mail/Exchange on-premises -> Exchange Online
  • Voice/Skype tot hybrid Skype -> Skype Online -> now Microsoft Teams with PSTN, Direct routing and all voice capabilities.

As you see I’ve migrated the biggest workloads on paper and there is nothing left except application servers, other e-mail systems, voice solutions and other solutions. (See Apps & Scenario’s)

As you all know sometimes small infrastructures or some applications are slipping in the architectural designs – I don’t think we need to overvalue the fact that in every change some things needs to change! Old legacy, phase it out, migrate to different solutions. Focus long-term.

Endpoint devices and future-proof device management

Devices as Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8,1, Windows 10 (since 2015) 1703, 1706, 1709, 1803, 1806, 1809, 1903, 1909. Were staged by System-Center Configuration Manager in a on-premise solution. And are now brought in a hybrid deployment with Microsoft EndPoint Manager.

Microsoft EndPoint manager is a combination of SCCM + Intune. To get the best of both worlds. Manage workloads from cloud and on-premises. Example: You could implement, during Covid-19 the change of update mechanisms from SCCM towards Endpoint Manager.

In this great overview you see on the left the integration of the current Active-Directory environment towards Azure Active Directory. In the right you see future state building blocks that needs to be active on your endpoint devices, to be prepared for the non-phish tank approach. Because most of the time: you already chose Microsoft, Windows 10 and Office 365. The possible scenario’s of managing your endpoint devices:

  • SCCM only or third-party solutions
  • SCCM CO-Management with EndPoint Manager
  • EndPoint manager only

How to choose what’s right for your organization? What is the right path for modern management? Which products would you need to choose to be ready for a future state workplace?

I’m total fan of going for EndPoint manager in the cloud only world. Because if your new to modern management you have the opportunity to use your hybrid Identity (from on-premises) and your cloud-only joined Azure AD Windows 10 workstation.

Why? Because different than before speed became a huge factor of implementation. And focusing on only the deployment and core Windows 10 enrollment has became less important compared to security implementations and improvements.

  • The first reason: The configuration and implementation is easy. Not because I’m lazy to implement more complex solutions but the create simplified standard solutions to manage your Windows 10 Devices is just so important. It’s great to have standard sets in Intune that are on or off. It helps the dialogue and the complex discussions and integration in high-speed.
  • Second reason is: Mobile devices, mobile device management with basis functionality is very easy and transparent with Endpoint Manager. And as we all know: You need to have some scenario’s for: BYOD, CYOD, COPE and COBE. BYOD is Bring Your Own Device; CYOD is Choose Your Own Device; COPE is Company Owned/Personally Enabled; and COBO is Company Owned/Business Only. Are you thinking this is the bla bla cool term discussion? Let’s get that sorted out: Are you able to securely work on your mobile applications and protection your companies IP. Do you know where your company data is located?
  • Third Reason: The security maturity and implementation effort has pro’s: Bitlocker activation, Windows Hello For Business working great full-cloud, easy activation. I believe segmentation of this device layer is important to not have lateral movement with domain joined devices connected on-premises. It’s not even technical possible if the device is not trusted. (zero-trust)
  • Fourth reason: No hybrid complexity, easier staging with Windows Autopilot. Staging from anywhere. Not possible in hybrid scenario’s, at the moment. It’s announced will be possible soon.
  • Fifth reason: Go Cloud. If you have no on-premises infrastructure left and are able to go without ‘traditional’ domain controllers to Azure AD or ADDS. The baseline is the most important real touchable factor. There are more capabilities easier to implement. Long-term is the real reason.

Why should you choose for CO-Management and what are decision points?

  • When you are not in a hurry moving to full-cloud. And for example defined you will shift in 2025. And still will keep your on-premises core-environment intact until then.
  • When you have big task-sequence and big deployment of software that is not possible to bring to Endpoint Manager. But more important is strategy. It will be strange if you keep SCCM without any other workload on-premise. Choose strategic, long term.
  • If strategy of full-cloud is defined. Don’t invest in co-management. For example: No business critical application service is running on-premises, shift to EndPoint Manager. Its better to make the invest in modern tools compared to well know configuration manager.
  • When you have 20 language packs and custom scripts. Sometimes hard decisions needs to be made to be more flexible in a later stadium. Again, Strategic decision.

Services, servers and infrastructure

It’s al about responsibility, complexity, standards, governance, way of stabilizing your businesses critical systems.

Responsibility and Security: As you can see in this matrix thanks to the shift of On-premise servers, appliances, services running Windows Server or different operations systems the ownership is in the organizations hands.

The downside in general is security. It’s difficult to segment, patch, upgrade, update and keep track of risks in the attack chain. Servers are integration with active-directory. Next to Security TCO is important. Did you know that we spend a lot of our time doing core-infrastructure task to keep everything running. It’s so critical infrastructure. Do we really want to keep on working and supporting this infrastructure when there are other options? It’s illusion to think organizations can keep up evolving and transforming when the focus is not shifted and the battle of cloud focus is not yet won.

The next diagram shows the responsibilities – import for knowing the opportunity for engineers, architects and the impact on these people. Next to the workload and impact the technology is probably more important.

“Rehost, Refractor, Rearchitect, rebuild, replace” – IF you want to shift to a modern approach redesign to Software as a service, wen possible is very important.

Example: Azure FileServer, Azure SQL. No Windows server 2016 running SQL instance(s). Just a SaaS solution. Easier for technical workers.

Data (documents)

Data maturity. automatic processing. Automation,. You get the point. (document)data is crucial and needs protection. Data is the core of every organization. And still we are sending documents over e-mail, sharing over third-party solutions that are not trusted etc.. We need a consolidated approach to fix document data ‘problem’ and discovery of security risks, compliance. We need to take back control of corporate data. It’s sometimes difficult to understand that companies are building data warehouses with high-end security and leave the door open of information documents / management. We are building super complex systems with machine learning, intelligent architectures for modern needs. With super smart people – but we leave the “core workplace behind” maybe because we are having less smart people really understanding what we are doing.

  • Trust / Platform / Decide -> Choose Microsoft. If you chose Office 365 to collaborate better and you don’t trust the environment you made the wrong choice. I mean, use the technology to make your environment more secure. Don’t use it if it’s just for mail. The tech goes beyond the tool itself.
  • Migrate personal documents to OneDrive, Organizational document to SharePoint of Teams and other application data to Azure Fileserver or different solutions.
  • The main reason is data control. When fileservers, and local copies are gone Microsoft 365 cloud can deliver automated labeling an classification or at least insights on confidential data. We lack data-control. Not even ‘understanding’ of document movement in our organizations.
  • Cloud App Security. Cloud App Security can help you remediate and take actions when necessary, discover document flows and help to set rules on document when the risk of data-leakage is valid. Cloud App Security will not fix the ‘complex’ solutions when we made them complex. There is nothing easier to manage than Office 365: Teams, SharePoint, Yammer, Exchange when this is the only platform used.
  • Security and governance in Microsoft 365 is hard. But it’s even harder if you also have on-premises resources and non-controlled instances. The pro’s of only O365 is you can deliver actionable insights.


I’m not a network specialist. I don’t know a thing of networking. But what I do now is that because of this ‘gap’ of IT-Pro’s to opportunity of hackers will rise. Because of the unknown facts. If you are able to shift all workloads to Microsoft 365 the network part, and the network-security will become less important. When it comes to information breaches, and core-infrastructure is gone on the on-premises. Every organization needs stable network, shaping, priorities and all other things to regulate network infrastructure. It is super important. But, we need to stop trusting our own networks as much as we did, before. Because the silo walls are gone. The crucial organization data did shifted to somewhere else.

Why should we even make a more trusted inside network than outside over VPN or private connections?

Strategic modern workplace decisions

Strategic long-term definitions are important to set milestones to grow to a real modern workplace. Most of the time we are delivering workplace optimizations for 20% of the workplace – of the possibilities and the needs. Only modern management for example.

  • Shifting al or our traditional infrastructure to Azure, Microsoft 365 is crucial for the long-term. For future-proof architecture.
  • Modern Management is a part of a workplace. For just only managing your assets, devices, updates, applications and deployment. But we are making this the import part. It’s the easy part. maybe in the near future Microsoft will deliver end-to-end solutions for deployment and management of devices. I hope they will. Probably we will complain of Microsoft taking over. And we are not willing to see the opportunity of the broad workplace.
  • Security baselines became important to get easier packages with a big value, low-cost, maximum impact. Building blocks to implement to get your organization on a high(er) security level.
  • Consolidation and migration to Microsoft 365 gives control to start with Unified Classification of documents and rich integration with for example PowerPlatfrom. It’s a tremendous opportunity to see how data is moving thought your workplace. And it creates insights to get things in order.
  • Real communication and collaboration is possible from anywhere if you brought all services from on-premises to Microsoft 365. Example: Using Teams with an on-premise exchange? What’s the strategy for that? And this brings me to the start of the article.
  • Mindset. Things have changed in the last decade. In the early days we have build IT-systems that were not able to change fast and may ‘never break’ -> Time has changed with superspeed — mindset should change. To old ‘system’ lacks modern need. This topic is deeply written in the CISO workshop 1 of Microsoft.

There is no room for traditional workloads when your strategy is to work and invest in Security optimizations. There is no room for traditional Exchange, SharePoint and fileservers when you want to be a flexible and cloud company.

We have seen the world changing the last 3 months. Maybe we will turn back to where we were. The choice now is:

  • Would you be the company that is prepared for next trends of working from anywhere – with a future proof ready architecture. to build on. To grow security, data maturity and easiness of future integration and implementations?
  • Would you go back, and use the old-tech? Until your organization is irrelevant because someone will change faster someday.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

Thank you so much for reading! In my post of next week you will read 15 technical high-level implementations and the next steps of a modern secured workplace. If you have feedback please comment below or reach out on Linkedin or Twitter.


The value of Microsoft 365 E3 or E5

The value of Microsoft 365 E3 or E5

Creating the modern workplace!

  • Digital business transformation. Every company has a digital transformation initiative. Microsoft 365 drives this digital transformation.
  • Increasing agility. The ability to respond to and drive market change quickly is the fundamental measure of business agility.
  • Empower information workers and firstline workers so they can collaborate and communicate better. Internally as with customers.
  • Support different working styles for millennial’s, Gen Z, Gen X, Baby boomers.
  • Generate better intelligence and analytics with a single view into your company information!
  • Increase mobility. people are working from home. From clients and during travel. In regard to collaboration, 98% of information workers collaborate or communicate with someone else at work on a weekly basis.
  • Improve security and compliance. Most of the time there is no control of data compliance in the current on-premise environment. Security systems are complex and static without growing or proven improvements. Start with a Zero Trust model.

Microsoft 365 E3 OR E5?

  • Decision making is crucial. Also simplicity. Make IT-system simple to move faster and support your business better. 2-3 Flavors of license scenario’s or strategies will be great. Don’t mess with addons id you will not use or active them..build trust, choose platform, choose Microsoft.
  • Start with activating basic security mechanisms. Start support of what you are using. grow. Don’t buy E5 when you are not mature enough, yet. Buy E5 and enable CASB to understand shadow IT or act when people extract crucial organization data… etc..
  • Don’t think it’s complex. Even when your company size is 50 people. You could start using Microsoft Business, full cloud. With real value and benefits as in Microsoft 365 E3. You could even use M365 E5 for small business when data control and cloud security is required.
Microsoft 365 E3 license overview
Micrososoft 365 E5 License overview
Micrososoft 365 E5 License overview

Office 365 – standard set

  • Every company is using e-mail, calendar, contacts move to exchange Online. it’s a proven standard.
  • Voice, Video, Meetings. Microsoft Teams. It’s used by 500.000 organization and became a standard. Shift to Microsoft Teams for better collaboration.
  • Office ProPlus: Everyone is using rich office clients: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. It’s there for decades and became a standard.
  • Planner, Yammer, OneDrive, SharePoint,.. it isn’t always a standard but we currently have tools to Plan tasks, Share thoughts, Share Documents and colleborate in our organization. Proven standard

Office 365 – advanced

  • ‘Built-in’ Analytics – did you know there are free/default/built-in dashboards for a lot of Microsoft 365 Services. I know. These are not organizational related. So they can give rich insights of usability of Office 365 tools.
  • Workplace Analytics for example: Measure progress toward transformation goals or Evaluate effectiveness of change efforts. Measure meeting hours, Discover inefficient processes, Identify hurdles to innovation, Gaps in learning, Identify Influencers,..
Workplace Analytics Microsoft
  • MyAnalytics: It’s not to control – it’s to to help to find out how work is done. People in your organization can find out their own habits because of their Analytic-insights.
MyAnalytics Workplace

The bigger picture – Why?

To bring value of Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 it’s important to understand the bigger picture. In the underlaying topics I’ve brought as much features in the eco-system of the E5 license. The main question is what are the benefits for a organization to shift to cloud solutions?

Why shift to Microsoft 365 E5

1. Protection across the attack kill chain

This slide shows the real value of Microsoft 365 E5. A lot of customers al laughing with MDATP because they think this is a isolated product. And are going deep in the license compare strategy of their current antivirus. Have a separated anti-spam solution, NO Azure AD Protection, NO cloud App Security..

2. Microsoft 365 E5 license includes

O365 ATP, Windows Defender ATP, Azure ATP + Cloud App Security. Detailed descriptions can be found on the website of Microsoft.

3. Cloud App Security

Cloud App Security shows you exactly whether data is passing on all endpoints. Document data, lateral movements, usage of applications, global traffic, count of applications in use in your organisation. Risk levels, GDPR proof applications. Bring network devices logging in CASB to have more insights.

Cloud App Security

4. Security & Compliance

I’ve seen that there a not enough organizations aware of the richness of the Security & Compliance possibilities in Microsoft 365. Because of shifting to Microsoft 365 the compliance will be in control of your organization. Even if you leave some file-servers and SharePoint services on-premise.

Unified data classification platform

5. Identity & Access management

Because of simplified Identity management organizations are able to work with Security perimeters to protect their users and organization. Because of these simplified configuration users will be able to reset their own password, control their own devices, or configure additional security components. (ZERO-IT)

Azure Active Directory

6. Self-Service Password Reset (SSPR)

The SSPR possibility Is an Azure Active Directory (AD) feature that enables users to reset their passwords without contacting IT staff for help. People can unblock themselves and continue working no matter where they are.

7. Managed Mobile Device

Cloud intelligence drives management. Use Autopilot to roll-out new devices and Increase productivity, reduce help-desk costs and Provide the best employee experience. Manage you Windows 10 devices and your mobile devices. Stop allowing personal devices without taking control of organization data. Use MAM and be diplomatic for end-users.

8. Microsoft Defender Security Center Security operations dashboard

The Security operations dashboard is where the endpoint detection and response capabilities are surfaced. It provides a high level overview of where detections were seen and highlights where response actions are needed. USE your built-in possibility for SECOPS reporting. You HAVE IT.

EndPoint manager admin center

9. Identity driven Security

Because of the use of a single identity in Azure. Or hybrid synced from your local Active Directory services organizations will be able to protect and automatically act when necessary. request for update your password if breached. Ask MFA when your device is not trusted. etc.. let your users update their password from home. Increase productivity.

Microsoft Secure Score

10. Risky Sign-ins

This great feature will bring based on cloud intelligence insights to understand the RISK of a user. for example unfamiliar location, anonymous IP addresses, leaked credentials.. (more info here)

Risky Sign ins Azure AD
risky users
Risky Sing ins overview
Risky Sing ins overview

11. Information Protection

To start with classification and labeling of document choose your battles. Define 1-2-3 labels for example: “High-Confidential Internal Only”, “Public” and “Internal Only”. It’s a good start without auto-labeling documents so people can learn how to protect their confidential data. In a later phase you can enable auto-labeling when a document is highly confidential because of there are credit-card numbers, personal information etc in this document. The activation of Information Protection could come from the fact that 1 million files are shared with external people. Or that you want to stop third-party applications so company data stays safe in the environment.

Microsoft 365 Compliance

12. Advanced Threat Protection

Work with Microsoft Defender Security Center (previous WDATP) it will give you insights for Applications, OS, Network, Accounts, Security Controls + Give insights for Software patching, Top vulnerable software, Top exposed machines. Most reports are built-in and seamless integration is done in the Eco-system of Microsoft 365 E5.

Threat & Vulnerability management dashboard
Detection sources

13. Windows 10 Enterprise with modern approach

Windows 10: My personal favorite. I really love customers which did their homework and started using Windows 10 without policies, governance, Intune (for example), management solutions and now they are stuck in the patching & management of these systems. This is wrong!

Microsoft Windows 10: Windows 10 has been released to insiders in 2015. version. 1507 afterwards 1511, 1607, 1703,1709, 1803,1809,1903,1909. Microsoft did understand the pain of shifting from Windows XP to Windows 7, Windows 8 to 8.1 and Windows 10. And now they want you to work on this NEW versions in a different way.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Enterprise: comes in the flavor of continues improvement. And needs to be implemented in a service-model with automatic updates, roll-outs, deployment, patching, updating, software requests (self-service) and even more!

Set compliance policies: Because of deep integrations you will be able to work on the compliance of the devices and grow to a recurrent update-model.

Device Compliance

14. Desktop Analytics 

Thanks to desktop analytics you will be able to evaluate the changes during updates as software distribution and compatibility issues. You can bring your organization to a next level. In case you were afraid that automation took your job, think again. These things need huge attention!

Dekstop Analytics

15. Native PowerBI Integration

Because of the rich Eco-system within Microsoft 365 everything can be measured. This report is default/standard without any manipulation of Power-bi. I know it sounds stupid, but without insights that can grow fast. You have nothing. Features/services are changing every year. Be prepared. Start consolidation and start using standards to built on.

Native PowerBI Integrations

Action Plan

  • Create a STRATEGY to bring value for Microsoft 365 E3 or E5. Do you want to: increase agility, empower information workers create intelligence increase mobility short: Drive transformation. AND invest in your SECURITY MATURITY -> than you should start with a STRATEGY. Non of all these things are technical. Even if we think it’s technical. DECIDE.
  • PLAN: Everything starts with a plan. PLAN to start a Microsoft Teams pilot, to evaluate, to pick-up the finding. and plan to go further. Most important PLAN to write a ROADMAP which describes the road ahead.
  • READINESS CHECK: Are you technically READY to start with a Microsoft Teams Roll-out? Is your company READY to start? Are the people READY to start? Is everyone involved? Are you READY?
  • IMPLEMENTATION: This is the easy part. Implement Microsoft Teams. Enable the features, check the boxes. Activate the subscriptions, copy the templates. Start the Pilot. Ask experts to deliver the technical requirements.
  • NEW WAY OF WORK: Microsoft Teams as used in this example as ‘new tech’, think about the groups we had in the top of the article. millennial’s, Gen Z, Gen X, Baby boomers. Do you think you should make some scenario’s? training and standard adoption programs to help them work as they never did before? YES!
  • TRANSFORM(ATION): Real transformation is successful when you KNOW/MEASURE it went well. Wen you see the activation/usage ratio in numbers. When you know the people are confident and happy to use new technology. When nobody is complaining and the organization has grown to a higher level of collaboration. And even when it fails or needs more improvements start over with this S-P-R-I-N-T.

Thank you for reading!


Modern Desktop implementation – Behind the scenes

Modern Desktop implementation – Behind the scenes

Introduction & Vision

At Synergics we truly believe the mission of Microsoft to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Every great implemented project start with a vision and with goals/milestones.

In the first project we delivered workshops to understand the transformation needs of the organization. we identified these digital outcomes below. (the description is basic, I know. But it’s another side-traject of this implementation)

  • Empower information workers and firstline workers so they can collaborate and communicate.
  • Simplified communication – Communicate through the full organization.
  • Increase agility for the IT-Organization – adaptability.
  • Futureproof design – Technical design, cloud first strategy.

You can read the reference-case in NL or FR! Microsoft Surface with Windows Autopilot ensure efficiency gains and easier IT management for the city of Lokeren. Reference Case.

Evolution to modern management – 100% CLOUD!

  • Less complexity
  • built-in automation
  • brand-new configuration & policies
  • higher security standards
  • self-service possibilities
  • 100% CLOUD!

To achieve more it’s important to give control to the people (empower), update your platform, easier roll-out’s of new devices etc.. (Scenario on the right, 100%…)

Traditional Co-Management Modern

New device setup experience with Autopilot

Imaging/cloning/etc of devices is taking a lot of crucial time – compared to Autopilot. This isn’t the easiest enabler because there are policies, GPO’s, in place. With Autopilot we deliver the roll-out of the Windows 10 Devices and sync back the Device-Object so on-premise resources can still be accessed in transition for future plans.

Autopilot Microsoft EndPoint Manager
  • – Old GPO’s can stay for some time.
  • – New possibilities of modern management becomes active.

Microsoft Windows update in waves & delivery optimization

It looks like a easy job but most of the time it’s a non-controlled mechanisms.

Windows 10 started in 2015 with builds as: 1511, 1607, 1703,1709, 1803,1809,1903,1909. As you see can in the screenshot, now we are transforming to 1903! and 1909 starting soon.

Compliance Policy
Device Compliance

Hybrid Identity – and password write-back

I was hoping to write cloud-identity but we still live in a world of on-premise infrastructure waiting to move to the cloud. For now we are creating and maintaining identities on-premise. We enable password-write-back so users are able to change their password.

Azure AD connect configuration

Intune mobile device management authority

Office 365 ProPlus distribution based on dynamic collections

It sounds very easy but I’ve seen a lot of customers fighting with licenses and automated processes.

  • When a user is in a M365 E3 dynamic collection because of the parameters Office ProPlus is automatically distributed.
  • When a user has no ProPlus acces, like a O365 F1 user, office 365 ProPlus will be removed.

Onedrive Known Folder Move (KFM)

There are two primary advantages of moving or redirecting Windows known folders (Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Screenshots, and Camera Roll) to OneDrive for Business for the users in your domain:

  • Your users can continue using the folders they’re familiar with. They don’t have to change their daily work habits to save files to OneDrive.
  •  Saving files to OneDrive backs up your users’ data in the cloud and gives them access to their files from any device.
  • This has value, value, value. Users can find their documents on their phones because of the automated move. When there workstations crashes, the data is still there..

Microsoft Defender Advanced threat protection

All devices are fully managed under the greatest MDATP. (also see the quadrant)

  • Multi-layered protection: Microsoft Defender ATP provides multi-layered protection (built into the endpoint and cloud-powered) from file-based malware, malicious scripts, memory-based attacks, and other advanced threats
  • Threat Analytics: Contextual threat reports provide SecOps with near real-time visibility on how threats impact their organizations
  • A new approach to Threat and Vulnerability Management: Real-time discovery, prioritization based-on business context and dynamic threat landscape, and built-in remediation process speed up mitigation of vulnerabilities and misconfiguration
  • Built-in, cloud-powered protections: Real-time threat detection and protection with built-in advanced capabilities protect against broad-scale and targeted attacks like phishing and malware campaigns
  • Automated security, SecureScore and +10 more features!
Microsoft Defender ATP

Enterprise state roaming (ESR)

With Windows 10, Azure AD users gain the ability to securely synchronize their user settings and application settings data to the cloud. Enterprise State Roaming provides users with a unified experience across their Windows devices and reduces the time needed for configuring a new device. Enterprise State Roaming operates similar to the standard consumer settings sync that was first introduced in Windows 8. Additionally, Enterprise State Roaming offers:

  • Separation of corporate and consumer data – Organizations are in control of their data, and there is no mixing of corporate data in a consumer cloud account or consumer data in an enterprise cloud account.
  • Enhanced security – Data is automatically encrypted before leaving the user’s Windows 10 device by using Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS), and data stays encrypted at rest in the cloud. All content stays encrypted at rest in the cloud, except for the namespaces, like settings names and Windows app names.
  • Better management and monitoring – Provides control and visibility over who syncs settings in your organization and on which devices through the Azure AD portal integration.
  • Even next to KFM! Even more great for data loss etc..

Future achievements..

  • Everything starts with the value of Microsoft 365 E3 of E5.
  • Analytics and data. My-analytics, Workplace Analytics?
  • Security Operations – Advanced hunting?
  • Proactive services – thousand scenario’s possible..
  • Automation in processes with Power Automate?
  • Deep integration with third-party applications?
Modern Device Management
The Multi-factor-authentication struggle? AND the solution!

The Multi-factor-authentication struggle? AND the solution!

The struggle for a Multi-factor authentication implementation is REAL and most of the time, really frustrating? Some frequently asked questions and answers below! Let’s change problem into a solution.

We don’t want to use Multi-factor authentication – it’s too complex!

  • Ask the people in your organization if they use the same password as their corporate account for: Dropbox, Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook. Do they?
  • I know, it’s really bad advice. But type your ‘old’ password in Haveibeenpwned.com Is it still ‘safe’?
  • Do you have MFA on your Facebook account? Your iCloud account, You’re private mail? Is it that bad?

How to tackle the resistance!

  • END-USER AWARENESS: There are a lot of organizations helping with a great case which can help your organization (including Microsoft) to communicate well. Communicate – make people understand WHY – support them – give them more!
  • MEASURE THE NEED FOR MFA: Measure the impact in your organization. And make people understand WHY. You could send out a ‘false Payroll update’ and measure how many people are entering their credentials. Make them aware that they did very good not entering their corporate credentials. Don’t punish people because they did. Help them to identify and understand phishing mails. https://protection.office.com/attacksimulator
ATP Phishing demo
Change Password
  • SELF-SERVICE: Give people in the organization the ability to get some pro’s because they ‘need’ to do MFA. For example: self service reset password possibilities. It could also mean that the workload of IT-teams will decrease because of self-service mechanisms. It’s nearly impossible (insecure) to deliver self-service without a trusted-second factor.
  • MODERN MANAGEMENT: Bring all your devices in a Azure AD in a state where they are at least Azure AD Joined so users will have pro’s like Single-Sign-On in Microsoft Edge. Other browsers are possible, but requires a little bit more time.
  • CONDITIONAL ACCESS: It’s simple to define a basic set of conditions where there shouldn’t be an second factor required. For example your work-environment. It creates a huge way of possibilities to have a better roll-out. Better have MFA with one condition then having no MFA at all.
Passwordless authentication codes
  • PASSWORDLESS AUTHENTICATION: Deliver passwordless authentication. It will help your users to not struggle with their password. Implementation guide here.
  • MEASURE THE RISK(S): Login to your Azure AD portal and export all sign-in logs of the last 3 month. Filter on SUCCESS and filter on a country which your company is not in. (or filter out all locations you are in and work with the left-overs) You have leaked credentials. Mostly it’s clear after this simple exercise.
  • MICROSOFT AUTHENTICATOR APP: You could just use SMS as a factor but don’t bother and use the Authenticator App
s Azure AD
  • AZURE ADVANCED THREAT PROTECTION: Work with Azure Advanced Threat Protection in a ‘Pilot’. This setup will cost you 60 minutes. Order a trial license of Microsoft 365 E5, go through the wizard of Azure ATP and add your domain controllers as a sensor.
Azure Advanced Threat Protection

After 30 days go to the console and export: Passwords exposed in clear text, lateral movement paths to sensitive accounts. I’m sure you can find something happening without knowing! This will bring insights where you had none before.

ATP Reports Cloud
  • THIRD PARTY ASSESSMENT: Work with third-party tools to measure the security or cyber-security maturity of your organization.
  • CLOUD APP SECURITY: Measure that data is extracted to machines to understand the needs in your environment. This will prioritize the need of identity-protection (later data-control)
Cloud Discovery Reports

Advice to IT Administrators

  • Maintain an 8-character minimum length requirement (and longer is not necessarily better)
  • Eliminate character-composition requirements.
  • Eliminate mandatory periodic password resets for user accounts.
  • Ban common passwords, to keep the most vulnerable passwords out of your system.
  • Educate your users not to re-use their password for non-work-related purposes.
  • Enforce registration for multi-factor authentication.
  • Enable risk based multi-factor authentication challenges.

Microsoft Password guidance didn’t changed in years. It’s still great!

It isn’t only commercial talk..

Microsoft sees over 10 million username/password pair attacks every day. This gives them a unique vantage point to understand the role of passwords in account takeover. 99.9 percent of attacks on your accounts can be prevented. (and it is not)

Side nodes