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Matt Scherocman

Introducing Microsoft StaffHub: A New App to Manage the Work Life of Deskless Workers

Introducing Microsoft StaffHub: A New App to Manage the Work Life of Deskless Workers

Deskless workers are truly the unsung heroes of the workforce, and for many industries such as retail, food service, and hospitality these hundreds of millions of workers are a company’s backbone, interacting with customers and making things happen. Although they are incredibly critical to the success of business, these deskless workers frequently don’t have the dedicated workspaces or proper applications they need to stay connected with management and each other.

This severely limits the transmission of information between these deskless teams. Even worse, it makes deskless workers and their supervisors rely on slow, limiting, inefficient paper processes to perform simple tasks like:

  • Creating and modifying schedules
  • Swapping shifts
  • Distributing new information to employees like policy updates, manuals, and guidelines
  • Setting up meetings between deskless workers

This is especially frustrating when these employees frequently have powerful smartphones in their pockets and purses. Microsoft has eliminated these issues and changed the way deskless workers communicate and manage their life at work with Microsoft StaffHub - an app currently available in public preview on the web, iOS, and Android.

Using an intuitive and straightforward interface of communication, collaboration, and scheduling tools, StaffHub gives deskless workers access to levels of productivity they never had before.

How Microsoft StaffHub Works

Managers use the StaffHub web app to create schedules, manage requests for shift swaps or time off, and share information with the team.

Example of a schedule page in StaffHub web app

Employees use the mobile app to view their shifts, submit shift and time-off requests, and communicate with the team.

Example of the day's work schedule in the StaffHub mobile app

With Microsoft StaffHub, the back-and-forth phone calls, text messages, and email change requests can be eliminated, and managers of deskless teams can interact in real time - making sure schedules, information, and meeting times are all up to date. Anything shared between deskless workers is readily available by the entire team, significantly reducing the time it takes to get everyone working with the same information.

Contact Interlink today to learn how your deskless workers can start becoming more productive with Microsoft StaffHub.

Sarah Bunt

Webinar on 01/19 | How to Stay Secure & Productive with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite

Webinar on 01/19 | How to Stay Secure & Productive with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite

Join us on January 19 @ 10:00 AM EST


Are you looking to add a tighter level of security to your environment? Do you want to stay secure and productive on your favorite apps and devices?

On January 19th, join Microsoft and Microsoft Gold Certified EMS Partner, Interlink Cloud Advisors as we show you the powerful new capabilities of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security and how it ensures your critical company data is protected. 

save me seat EMS E5 webinar

During this online event, see what’s new through a live demo of EMS’s E5 functionality and how it allows you to:

  • Lockdown your valuable data: Automatically classify information to better protect intellectual property with Azure Information Protection. Lock it down so, your competitors can see it and your existing sales people can’t take it with them!
  • Secure the cloud: Drive security policies and reporting across Microsoft and non-Microsoft cloud services with Cloud App Security. Your data is being dispersed all over the global by using various SAAS services. Take back control and visibility – we’ll show you how!
  • Control Administrator Account Access: Ensure that powerful rights are utilized appropriately. Privileged Identity Management gives the ability to grant access to admins only when required and limited to the resources needed.
  • Use Identity Protection: Ensure that users are accessing your environment following the policies that are required for your business. Automatically identify risky scenarios, take appropriate actions, and provide reporting.

In addition, we’ll provide an in-depth licensing overview and comparison of EMS E5 vs. EMS E3 features and functionality.

Plus, we’ll show you how you can leverage Microsoft paid assessments and proof of concepts to see if it is the right solution for your business!

Register today to learn more about the benefits of Microsoft’s all-new Enterprise Mobility + Security Suite.


PRESENTERS

Eric Inch

Eric Inch

Eric Inch is a Technical Solutions Specialist - Mobility & Security for the Microsoft Corporation. He is responsible for helping clients deploy the EMS offering across their corporate account base.

Eric Brophy

Eric Brophy

Eric Brophy is a Senior Consultant for Interlink who has helped more than a hundred clients migrate their workloads to the cloud.  He is badged by Microsoft and certified in their cloud technologies.

 

 

Matt Scherocman

Comparing the Office 365 Enterprise Kiosk (K1) Plan vs. Enterprise (E1) Plan

Comparing the Office 365 Enterprise Kiosk (K1) Plan vs. Enterprise (E1) Plan

Many clients have been asking us about the differences between Microsoft’s Office 365 Enterprise Kiosk (K1) plan and Enterprise (E1) plans and have been confused about which plan is right for the users who do not need the higher end suites. This comparison is for clients who are considering either of these two plans and want figure out which one is a better fit for their business. 

What is an Enterprise Kiosk (K1) plan? 

Essentially, the Kiosk plan is for those that are looking for inexpensive licenses for deskless workers - users who are often working away from a desk or using a shared PC and don’t need desktop versions of Office. 

What are the differences between the K1 and E1 plan?

differences between the K1 and E1 plan

Looking at the chart above, you can see that the main two differences between the Enterprise E1 and K1 plan is that E1 provides OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business Online while the K1 plan does not.

More specifically Kiosk customers can use the OneDrive for Business folder sync client application to sync team site document libraries with shared computers and access documents on the PC locally and offline, but they do not include a OneDrive for Business personal site with the 1TB of online storage. Nor do they include the Office Application Suite that would be able to access the documents on the PC, the Kiosk plan only includes the web versions of the Microsoft applications which require the content to be web accessible.

Another difference is the lack of desktop Outlook Access between E plans and K plans. The E plans can connect to Outlook the desktop application, but the K plans cannot and are required to use Outlook Web Access or mobile access even if Office is licensed on that particular machine under another manner. One note, the E1 plan does not include a license for the desktop version of Outlook even though it is “allowed” to connect if owned. 

The Benefits of an Enterprise K1 vs. E1 Plan

With the Kiosk licenses clients are able to reduce cost and provide their staff with access to company email, information, and resources for their employees that are often using shared PCs and are constantly moving around. This environment is where the Kiosk plans thrive and add a lot of ROI to a company. For example, the K1 plan at $4 per user per month is half the price of the E1 plan at $8 per user per month.

When users need their own storage space, access to instant messaging platforms, want to run desktop Outlook, and need a larger mailbox – then the E1 plan is a great fit. 

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about your options as you consider your cloud purchase, we would be happy to help and show you how to get the most out of your Microsoft licensing! Give us a call at 800-900-1150 or contact us here.

 

Eric Inch

"Stay Out Unless I Say So!" - The Sweetness of Azure AD Conditional Access

"Stay Out Unless I Say So!" - The Sweetness of Azure AD Conditional Access

I talk to a lot of customers using Office 365 that would like to have granular control on who can access the hosted services and only allow access to these services from corporate owned and managed devices. Enter Azure AD Conditional Access. “Keep out.. Unless of course you meet certain conditions!”

For example, with Azure AD device access rules you can restrict access to Exchange Online to only domain joined machines.

“Wait?! What?! That sounds just like what I’m looking to do.

What does that look like?”

 

When a user attempts to access Outlook Web App from a personal computer, they go to the OWA URL and enter their username and password.


The conditional access policy will look to verify that the device being used to access OWA is domain joined and registered in Azure AD. Since the computer is a personal computer, the user is denied access.


After closer examination using the “More details” link, you can see the access rules set require the device to be domain joined for access. In the scenario of personal computers, this will show as Unregistered.

Your access to corporate resources was swatted away like Dikembe Mutumbo. “Not in my house!”

“Good Eric, that’s all great but how about the full Outlook client? I would really like to see what options we have to prevent our users from connecting their personal Outlook client to our corporate email.”


When a user attempts to connect the Outlook client on a non-domain machine, the Outlook client will open and prompt the user for authentication.


The user will enter their username and password and the authentication process will look for a registered device.


Once again the user will be gently reminded that they need to be on a corporate owned device.

“Wow Eric, I’m really impressed by Conditional Access and the device access restrictions available in the Microsoft security suite. Anything else we should know? What about users that want to access OWA from other browsers?”

 

First and foremost, under no circumstance should you ever use anything other than Microsoft technology. Ever!

But, in the event some of your users want to go against my recommendation, to access corporate resources protected with device access rules they would need to use a supported browser. Conditional access support for applications: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/active-directory-conditional-access-supported-apps/


The behavior when attempting Outlook Web App using the Google Chrome browser would be as follows:

The user enters their username and password from a non-domain machine.

Since the user is trying to use a browser that doesn’t support conditional access, it gives the user a warning that the browser is not supported and to use Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer.

The device based access rules are configured within Azure AD Premium and have the following options.

  • Enable Access Rules – On or Off. (self-explanatory)
  • Apply To – Specific groups that you want to scope the access rules to. You also have the ability to except specific users from the scope.
  • Device Rules – The access rules you want to enforce for access to the corporate resources.
  • Application Enforcement – “For browser and native applications” OR “For only native applications” Exchange ActiveSync – Require a compliant device to access email

For more information on Azure AD Conditional access, please read the official Microsoft blog article AzureAD Conditional Access Policies for iOS, Android and Windows are in Preview!

 

Matt Scherocman

Microsoft EMS Case Study: Interlink Sets G&J Pepsi Free to Innovate, Collaborate and Grow

Microsoft EMS Case Study: Interlink Sets G&J Pepsi Free to Innovate, Collaborate and Grow

G&J Pepsi Cola is the largest family-owned and operated Pepsi franchise bottler in the United States. Over 1,000 of their 1,600 employees are made up of deskless workers, including drivers, salespeople, and merchandisers. Not yet utilizing mobile devices, this sizable workforce did their job based on paper marching orders each morning. Over time, these paper instructions became hefty books that field people lugged around and rummaged for information.

hybrid Use Benefit quoteRealizing the need for change, G&J transitioned from paper to electronic documents and outfitted its deskless workforce with Android smartphones. The move created hundreds of new, unsecure and unoptimized mobile endpoints.

hybrid Use Benefit case study

Here’s just a couple of ways Interlink used the full value of Microsoft enterprise cloud products to meet G&J’s business challenge.

  • Secured the Digital Link with Microsoft EMS
    Using Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), Interlink quickly secured 1,200 smartphones and tablets.

    With the mobile devices secure, G&J corporate offices, distribution centers, and field employees can now communicate and collaborate without having to worry about endpoint security. Management is free to share sensitive data in real time with other business units, decreasing data availability downtime while increasing efficiency of response to changes in operations.
  • Extended Microsoft EMS with Azure Active Directory Premium
    G&J uses several different applications across their IT infrastructure, all deployed with the challenge of needing to be secure and easily accessible. Using Azure Active Directory Premium, Interlink streamlined the management of these applications and improved the secure accessibility of multiple applications.

    By using a cloud-based single-sign-on (SSO), G&J consolidates application management and usage into one simple process. IT no longer needs to spend time and resources configuring multiple sets of credentials, and field employees never need to be concerned about not having access to their suite of third-party applications.

Read the full case study and see how Interlink met G&J Pepsi’s business mobility challenges with Interlink and Microsoft EMS.

hybrid Use Benefit case study

Contact us to show you how we can improve your collaboration, security, and mobility with Microsoft EMS too.  

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