In this blog, I’m continuing the security theme, but I’m going to take a look at how Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) is ensuring mobility, cloud and security can all work hand in hand.

The big focus at Microsoft continues to be its ‘Mobile First, Cloud First’ strategy. And at Microsoft’s Ignite Conference this year we started to see how this strategy is going to be delivered and supported through Azure Active Directory and the EMS.

Back in 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella explained that ‘mobility’ isn’t just about devices anymore. It’s about the ‘experiences’ that are delivered through the many different devices we use day-to-day. And ‘Cloud’ isn’t just about ‘the Cloud’ either. At Microsoft, the ‘Cloud’ means all the ‘services’ that the infrastructure provides to keep all our devices connected, so they can continue to deliver the ‘experiences’ we need.

So, when ‘mobility’ and ‘cloud’ come together, we have the experiences and services we need to be ‘productive’, ‘efficient’, ‘dynamic’ and, dare we say, ‘happy’ people.

This is all great. But we have to get the foundations in place.

We can’t underplay the importance of getting the technology foundations right. Computing is becoming ever more ‘pervasive’ and ‘ubiquitous’ – i.e. it’s embedded within every part of our business lives, enabling you and your employees to access your mobile ‘experiences’, via your Cloud ‘services’, on everything and everywhere.

To understand how this needs to work moving forward, it’s a good idea to follow the various blogs from Brad Anderson, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Enterprise Client and Mobility.

What he says is that we can’t do business without the experiences we have through our mobile devices; and these mobile devices were built to consume services from the cloud. The cloud is what enables these devices to become such a critical and thoroughly integrated part of our lives; and people like you and I now rely on smart products that can communicate unobtrusively in the background, without us even knowing it’s happening.

And what’s more to the security point I wanted to tie in, is that all this happens way beyond any network perimeter you were once able to protect with standard security policy and procedure.

Identity management is key.

Whereas in the past the network perimeter was used to control access to corporate data, moving forward, identity will be the ‘control pane’. Security is now being built into all devices and solutions; rather being bolted onto them afterwards.

Identity management defines who can and can’t use the devices and access the data they rely on. Brad Anderson explains: “You use it to control access to any service from any device, and you use it to get visibility and insight into where and how your data is being used.”

So what we now have is a convergence of people (identities), data, devices, and applications. And what binds all the platforms together? This is where Azure Active Directory and the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) comes in to the story.

Enterprise Mobility Suite – the piece that holds everything together.

The EMS provides, what Brad Anderson calls, “A people-first approach to identity, devices, apps, and data.” It’s basically the piece that holds everything else together. There are four parts to the mobile-first, cloud-first convergence story:

  1. Data is everywhere; so are the devices and people accessing it.
  2. To manage this new environment, you need to take a people-first approach.
  3. To manage who can access data, and what they can do with it, you need Azure Active Directory.
  4. The mobile devices and applications (what we redefined earlier in this blog as the ‘experiences’ your people need) are managed by InTune. This enables you to manage what services can and can’t be delivered, by your Cloud, and to whom.
  5. So, to summarise, the layered protection that is delivered through Active Directory and EMS safeguards what you’ve built and manage – no matter where the user, the device, or where the data goes.
  6. And to add a nice layer of icing on the stack, you don’t have to abandon your existing infrastructure to enjoy these experiences and services. With Azure all this can be managed in the Cloud alongside your current investments with a hybrid approach.

So, what the Active Directory and EMS allows you to do is remove the borders and perimeters from around your business and give your people genuine freedom and flexibility.

But rather than there being more security risk, there’s actually less. You can now enjoy an environment in which mobile ‘experiences’ and Cloud ‘services’ can be directed only to the people who have the need and authority to use them. Without compromise or exception to the rule.

So, with pervasive computing, also comes pervasive peace of mind? Yes. It certainly sounds like it.

To promise all this is a big call from Microsoft to claim all this is possible. And so you’d be forgiven for assuming that the cost of putting it all together would be just as big?

Well, amazingly, Microsoft’s EMS is priced at $11.10 per user / per month (that’s ex. GST). Very soon, we’ll be able to give you per user, per month pricing for solution stacks that have Azure Active Directory and EMS as the foundation. These bundles will change the way consume IT and make it much easier to be agile and responsive in our delivery models.

We’ll be continuing this blog with other pieces that reveal more of the Microsoft technology story. But if you simply want to talk about it all to someone, please call just call us.

Simon Steele is Marketing Director with XCentral.