November 6, 2023

Remote device management: Scaling your business for the hybrid world

Samsung Knox Team
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Remote device management is an essential capability for any successful enterprise. Remote workers are now using devices owned and maintained by their employees in their homes (or their nearest cafes) more than ever before. Remote device management is all about keeping staff efficient and connected in these new remote-first business environments.


Hybrid, remote, WFH: What this means for work devices

Whether they’re fully remote or hybrid, employees at home need to submit work, communicate with colleagues, attend video calls, access files on private company networks, and adhere to data protection policies, just as they did when they worked from a central office. 

Forbes predicts that, by 2025, 22% of the American population will be working remotely—or 70 million Americans.  Those remote workers will need 70 million (or more) devices to execute their tasks from home. And for America’s IT admins, those devices represent 70 million more plates to spin, introducing no small pressure to keep their device landscape running smoothly.

“Accelerated adoption of remote and hybrid work has increased pressure on end-user computing groups to rapidly implement new technology, improve patching levels, and increase compliance,” says Tom Cipolla, senior director analyst, Digital Workplace Infrastructure & Operations, at research firm Gartner. 


Modern management challenges arise

IT teams have always needed to be everywhere at once; setting up a new laptop for the new hire, rolling out essential security patches company-wide, and troubleshooting the CMO’s Android smartphone before she has to cancel her big presentation. Phew.

Remote work takes this to the extreme. Now, employees are accessing public networks in the coffee shops they’re working in, using their work devices for personal reasons, and interacting with a greater variety of apps than ever before. 

With this new dynamic, come new challenges. And, ultimately, IT teams are being pressed into managing these challenges swiftly. 


Data protection and compliance are prioritized

As previously mentioned, the introduction of work devices in personal settings can create big challenges and risks for organizations. A few of these potential risks include: 

  • Unsecured home networks lacking robust security measures
  • Potential increases in phishing attacks
  • Unpatched software, and more.

With the benefit of remote work also comes a critical need to introduce policies and protocol to keep company and employee data safe. 

These policies add much-needed protections for consumers but increase pressure on IT teams to ensure company-wide compliance. The decentralized nature of remote work means it has never been easier to accidentally violate those protections and incur serious penalties, like hefty fines, in the process. It’s therefore unsurprising that 75% of executives are planning to increase staffing for digital security roles.


Rising demand for technical support

When confronted with a bluescreen, critical error, network outage, or other technical roadblock, work-from-home employees are no longer able to drag their device downstairs to the IT department for a fix. 

For remote work to be an efficient option, companies must offer effective remote technical support. At the same time, the device landscape has never been more complex. It’s no wonder technical support engineering jobs in the US are expected to increase by 11% each year from 2016 to 2026.

Remote employees connect to a greater variety of networks (public and private,) use a greater variety of equipment, and use their devices and apps for a greater variety of purposes than ever before. 


Device and app management

In this remote-work world, employees bringing corporate devices home, have lots of control. However,  organizations can’t afford to let those devices fall out of compliance with company policy. IT administrators keep tight control over app, operating system, and firmware versions for good reason. 

Business-critical apps might cease to function if a user delays an update for too long. On the other hand, updating to a new operating system version too quickly can expose the business to new and unknown vectors of assault by malicious actors. IT policy is strict for good reason, as non-compliance can bring business to a halt or introduce vulnerabilities, but enforcing that policy can feel like cutting down a tree to get an apple.


Data privacy concerns

Whether you’re talking about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CPRA (California Consumer Privacy Act), or CASL (Canada's anti-spam legislation), anywhere a company does business, it’s likely there will be data governance laws to follow. In 2020, 55% of the world was protected by some form of data protection act. Gartner predicted this would rise by 10% in as little as three years. 

After all, staff are bringing valuable company devices loaded with sensitive data into their homes, where their power to protect and control company devices is limited. Such a loss of control might keep some IT admins up at night, but it’s important to acknowledge employees have the same fears.

Businesses often strengthen security policies to safeguard company data, and this blending of personal and professional communication can blur the lines between one’s personal and work like, potentially impacting personal privacy. Finding the right balance between reinforcing security measures and respecting personal boundaries is challenging.


How a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution takes care of everything

Mass remote work is viable thanks to the remote device management software and practices fueling IT teams with such an enormous tapestry of technology to maintain.  

A Unified Endpoint Management (or UEM) solution like Samsung Knox Suite can make the impossible possible, allowing workers to roam free by giving IT admins the oversight and power to manage devices, wherever they need to be. Below are four reasons to invest in a UEM solution: 

1. Robust security features

Security is at the forefront of every choice we make, and Knox Suite is no different. It’s packed with safeguarding features built to protect devices through the entire enterprise mobility lifecycle, and designed to form an impenetrable bond with the hardware on Samsung devices to give you the highest level of data protection. 

One of Knox Suite’s market-proven security features is a fail-safe way of detecting if a device or its firmware is compromised before allowing its user access to business-critical networks, remotely and easily detecting rooting, device ID tampering, and more. 

Visibility is lost when devices are decentralized, but Knox Suite is easily capable of restoring your line-of-sight to your full device fleet. And in the event a device is compromised, lost, or stolen, Knox Suite provides a safety-net option to remotely wipe the affected device and disarm the threat. 

Knox Suite is already a market-leading option for the security-conscious enterprise, but there’s much more to come, like our innovative new Security Center: Mapping vulnerabilities at the chipset level and communicating them with clarity back to IT admins. 

2. Efficient remote technical support

As we’ve described, there’s a greater need than ever for effective tech support in the era of remote work. A well-rounded UEM solution like Samsung Knox Suite can help here, too. This is thanks to a cloud-based asset intelligence toolkit providing insight into connectivity, location, device health, battery, and even app stability. With Knox Suite, you can effortlessly monitor app-related issues, such as crashes and excessive battery usage, as well as Wi-Fi connection issues. With daily device reports, you can easily identify and resolve urgent device issues. Additionally, you can receive real-time updates (against thresholds you set) on the issues impacting your devices. This allows you to prioritize urgent issues first, while keeping an eye on everything else. 

With Knox Suite (and the device user’s permission) an IT admin can securely access and remotely control an affected device as if it’s right in front of them. This allows them to administer whatever troubleshooting  is necessary, at any time, from any location. You can even document the session with screen capture and recording and collect device debug or TCPdump logs to identify the right diagnoses. 

3. Efficient device and app management

Your ability to provision devices is vastly different in a remote environment, but with Knox Suite, you hardly notice the difference. Streamlined-device enrollment means thousands of corporate devices can be instantly provisioned right out of the box after first boot or a factory reset, all without an admin ever needing to lay hands on the device.

Once devices are up and running, Knox Suite enables consistent device management that makes enforcing policy easier than ever before. Trigger enforcements with event-based triggers like time of day, location, network, roaming, or SIM change so that critical updates land with minimal impact on efficiency. For example, you can automatically apply policies based on location, allowing you to set different policies for the office and home. This allows you to restrict screen capture or file sharing for security reasons when at home. You can even protect productivity by running updates at night to avoid disruptions during a busy work day.

Operating system and firmware updates can make for intimidating roadblocks, but Knox Suite makes the process easy. OS version deployment can be controlled to ensure device compliance and avoid painful business disruptions. For example, admins can segment device groups to properly test new versions in-the-field before pushing them to the full remote workforce, guaranteeing the new OS version works in harmony with business apps to avoid company-wide clashes in productivity. 

4. Privacy

Remote work has truly blurred the lines between home and work life. This includes using devices for professional tasks or personal time, therefore making it more important than ever for businesses and employees alike to keep their data and information private. 

Enter Android’s ‘Work Profile’ feature: A function of Android phones supported by Knox Suite that securely separates business and personal instances of a managed device. The company maintains full control of the ‘work profile’ while employees can engage their own ‘personal profile’ with a simple swipe. 

This separation between business and personal apps and data makes bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and fully managed devices with a work profile more realistic, secure, and manageable than ever before.


A new way to work from home

Remote work’s challenges have answers in Knox Suite. But what about opportunities? Knox Suite also brings forward-thinking features to the table that enable remote workers to get more done–in style.

Samsung DeX is a powerful feature built into Samsung Galaxy devices that, when connected to an external display, lets you multitask between devices*. 

That goes for IT admins too. Far from being strapped to their desks, Samsung DeX combined with Knox Suite allows tech teams the flexibility to respond to any threat, from any location.

*DeX for PC is available on selected devices, on Windows 10 and above. Visit the FAQ page for a full list of device and software compatibility.


Final notes on remote device management

Remote work is a revolution-in-progress. Our commutes are shorter, our pets are happier, and companies are experiencing an unprecedented boom of employee satisfaction and efficiency. And at the operational heart of this shift are the IT teams making it possible. 

With a smorgasbord of innovations baked in, Knox Suite makes security tougher, support better, compliance tighter, privacy stronger, and visibility clearer. In turn, Knox Suite makes IT teams happier, more resilient, and more capable of managing devices near, far, or wherever they are.