Microsoft’s Remote Assist (RA) application is a powerful tool, allowing experts to remotely provide support, feedback, mentorship, and training. It is currently being used in a variety of fields including Manufacturing, Construction, and Medicine. Having helped with deployments of Remote Assist across multiple industries, SphereGen has found several hurdles that should be addressed within the planning stage. By preparing ahead of time and keeping these hurdles in mind, you can be sure to have a smooth and successful roll-out of your Remote Assist use case.
What you need to know about Remote Assist Licenses
Identifying how many licenses you need to secure for Remote Assist is important from a budgetary standpoint. To get started with a Remote Assist deployment you truly need only one Remote Assist license. However, most use cases other than a small proof of concept will require more.
The licensing structure for Remote Assist is designed such that only those who are receiving support need to have a license. For instance, this means front line workers who are using a HoloLens 2, iPad, or Mobile Phone to receive support from a remote expert need to have a license. All the experts who will be providing support through Remote Assist can simply use Microsoft Teams and do not require a license. So, if you have one user who needs to potentially receive support from 20 different experts, you need only one Remote Assist license.
You can reassign Remote Assist licenses quickly and easily through the 365 Admin portal. This allows different workers to use RA on different days, by simply applying the licenses to fit your needs for that day.
Implement Mobile Device Management (MDM)
Remote Assist uses the Azure cloud to establish its connections between users as well as Teams. Therefore, you can use the Mobile Device Management (MDM) options in Azure to ease your deployment process and maintain control over the devices used by your organization and your workers.
Why use MDM?
MDM allows you to control access to your device if it is lost, factory reset, or if you forget the PIN or password.
MDM is not required to use Remote Assist. Sometimes, when undertaking small deployments or experimental proof of concepts, it may even be preferable not to engage in setting up MDM. BUT…keep in mind that this means the only security options you will have are those on the device itself, like pin numbers and passwords for signing into the headset. Therefore without MDM, if you forget your PIN or lose your password you will lose control of your device. Your only option will be to factory reset. Based on our experience, MDM is the smartest and safest way to maintain control of your devices.
There are currently two options available for managing the HoloLens – Microsoft InTune and AirWatch. MDM itself is a very deep topic requiring technical decisions that should align with your current environment. Therefore, before attempting to implement MDM, discuss options with your IT team or engage with a knowledgeable vendor. They can best help you leverage MDM to deploy and manage your Remote Assist devices.
Set up Information Barrier Policies
Controlling sensitive and proprietary information is an important consideration for any business, and especially so for Remote Assist. The video, audio, and document sharing features of RA are what make it so valuable as a support tool. However, these features can cause potential security issues if the proper measures are not taken to secure your Remote Assist use case.
What are Information Barriers?
Teams and Azure, both of which are part of the backbone of Remote Assist, provide information barriers to allow IT to control the flow of information between users. By setting up information barriers, you control who can contact your RA Users and vice versa. This is important for locking down your Remote Assist use-case because then calls only take place between specific users, or user types. “Block” or “Allow” actions define communication protocols within your Active Directory accounts.
Defining your Policies
Like MDM, information barriers are part of a complex technical topic regarding your Active Directory environment and user accounts. Therefore, before defining and applying information barrier policies, discuss this with your IT department or work with a knowledgeable third party to get guidance.
Considering and addressing these three points – Licensing, MDM, and Information Barriers – will make your Remote Assist deployment smooth and secure. You will maintain control over the devices in use and ensure the security of your sensitive information. After your deployment, you can get started realizing the true benefits of Remote Assist. Experience less equipment downtime, increase your ROI on training, and allow for unique and spontaneous mentorship in your organization!
See more about SphereGen and Remote Assist