Security is an important aspect for organizations and securing the devices that contain confidential data–personal or professional, is absolutely essential. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, an intelligent mobility management and security platform, offers a suite of services that helps in securing employee devices; thus, protecting and securing the organization.
Our recent chat with Nate Chamberlain, a Business Analyst at DH Pace, Kansas, helped us understand more about the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Mobility + Security suite. Nate is also a Microsoft MVP in Office apps and services. His recently published book Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security – Exam Guide MS-101, helps users to plan, deploy, and manage Microsoft Office 365 services and gain the skills required to pass the MS-101 exam.
In this interview, Nate also shares his favorite services from the suite, the importance of using Shadow IT in a controlled manner while ensuring security Cloud Apps, how the M365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert certification has helped him give a career boost, and much more.
On the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security suite
Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security suite help professionals secure devices used within the enterprise and also helps in identifying breaches before they cause any major damage. The suite provides two offerings, Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 and E5. Talking about the popular Microsoft solutions in the suite, Nate said, “Azure Active Directory, Intune, and the Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance Center are big players in the overall EM+S suite. Taking the time to get to know each of them has the potential to significantly enhance your organization’s security.”
Nate said one of his favorite features from the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Mobility + Security suite is, “the ability to be extremely granular in building conditional access policies. That, paired with the ability to utilize AI and zero-day security information in policies and practices, continually impresses me. It’ll be interesting to see where Endpoint Manager takes us.”
On the topic of what features he would like to add in the suite in the future, he said, “the biggest improvement I would hope for currently is licensing simplification, and making sure admins are able to secure their organization and its users without breaking the budget.”
On the new Microsoft Endpoint Manager and using ‘Shadow IT’ for Cloud App security
Last month, Microsoft announced its new Endpoint Manager, a convergence of two of its popular tools, System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and Microsoft Intune. Both ConfigMgr and Intune offer integrated cloud-powered management tools, and unique co-management options to provision, deploy, manage, and secure endpoints and applications across an organization. The Endpoint Manager offers end-to-end management solutions without the need for worrying too much about the complexity involved during migration, thus helping customers in a smooth cloud transition. According to Nate, “Microsoft Endpoint Manager takes a lot of the licensing guesswork out of building a secure solution for your organization.”
In addition to Intune and ConfigMgr, Microsoft Endpoint Manager includes the Device Management Admin Center (DMAC) and Desktop Analytics. Nate further adds that Microsoft Endpoint Manager includes nearly everything discussed in his exam prep book, Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security – Exam Guide MS-101–including Intune and ConfigMgr.
Shadow IT and cloud app security
In his book, Nate has written about controlling the use of ‘Shadow IT’ for Cloud App security. Shadow IT, also known as Stealth IT, is built and used without the knowledge of the IT or security group within the organization. We asked Nate for what processes is Shadow IT built-in the organizations. We also asked why Shadow IT is a threat and how organizations can minimize its usage.
Clearing the clouds on Shadow IT, Nate explains, “Shadow IT is often a consequence of being too restrictive without providing alternative means of productivity and collaboration solutions. And sometimes, even if you provide alternatives or company-licensed tools, it’s the lack of ongoing education that failed to spread awareness and competency that led users to more familiar, comfortable means of accomplishing goals. When users need to accomplish something, they’ll find a way with or without the organization’s assistance.”
He further adds, “It’s IT administrators’ responsibility to make sure productivity and collaboration solutions are provisioned and configured for secure, appropriate usage, and that education is provided to get users on board.”
A few key takeaways from Nate’s book, an MS-101 exam guide, and his recommendations for further Microsoft 365 certifications
According to Microsoft’s official website, the “Exam MS-101: Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security”, the skills measured in the exam includes, implementing modern device services, implementing Microsoft 365 security and threat management, and managing Microsoft 365 governance and compliance. These skills would help companies sieve through all the candidates among others who don’t know much about the suite.
Talking about the key takeaways from his book, Nate says, “I hope readers find the content to be challenging, but accessible. The best takeaway I could hope for is that readers retain information that not only helps them in the exam but in their jobs. The whole point of taking exams and obtaining certifications is to demonstrate proficiency, knowledge, and skill. Ultimately, it’s practising those skills in the real world that matter – not the score on the exam. But the exam is absolutely a first step toward building confidence and career growth.”
We also asked him what other certifications he would recommend next, to which Nate said, “Once readers pass MS-101, they should aim for passing MS-100 if they haven’t already. After that, they’re just one prerequisite certification away from becoming a Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert.”
On Nate’s journey as a Microsoft SharePoint Systems Engineer and beyond
Nate worked as a SharePoint Systems Engineer at LMH Health, Kansas, and is currently a Business Analyst at DH Pace in Olathe, KS. He is also an M365 Certified Enterprise Administrator Expert. He shared why certifications are important for career growth. He says, “My certification certainly looks great on my resume to potential employers and I like to think it’s part of what made me competitive in pursuing my current role. Certifications are verified proof of skill and competency. It alleviates some risk a company would otherwise assume in hiring someone for highly technical work like we find in our industry.”
He also shared about his journey and how learning SharePoint transformed his role. “My journey has been one of self-teaching, fueled by inspiring tech solutions coming out of Microsoft. I was once tasked to learn what I can about SharePoint, at the University of Kansas, and it turned into a SharePoint-specific role there. That opened doors for me which brought me to LMH Health and ultimately DH Pace.”
He continues, “Somewhere along the way, I started sharing what I was learning via my blog, NateChamberlain.com, and by speaking at conferences around the country regularly. I also started a SharePoint user group, LSPUG, in Lawrence, KS. For these reasons and perhaps others, I was awarded the Microsoft MVP for Office Apps and Services.”
Certifications are indeed verified proof of skill and competency. So go ahead and check out Nate’s book, Microsoft 365 Mobility and Security – Exam Guide MS-101, to get up to speed with planning, deploying, and managing Microsoft Office 365 services and gain the skills you need to pass the MS-101 exam. With this book, you’ll explore everything from mobile device management and compliance, through to data governance and auditing. By the end of this book, you’ll have learned to work with Microsoft 365 services and covered the concepts and techniques you need to know to pass the MS-101 exam. Written in a succinct way, you’ll explore chapter-wise self-assessment questions, exam tips and mock exams with answers.