MECM: What Is Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager

Image Source: vecstock on freepik

Two industry-leading solutions, both included in Microsoft 365, enable unified endpoint management with Microsoft. Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) and Intune are responsible for managing over 150 million devices globally. They collaborate to make the complex chore of protecting today’s offices more manageable and flexible by leveraging cloud services. Also, Microsoft enables IT to transform the delivery of device management and security services using technologies and processes they are currently familiar with. The most comprehensive and adaptable device management platform uses the power of a globally scalable cloud to protect business data on any endpoint, controlled or unmanaged. In this article, we will discuss Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) training and certification.

What is MECM?

MECM typically refers to Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, formerly known as SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager). It is a comprehensive management solution for deploying and managing devices in an enterprise environment. MECM enables IT administrators to automate the deployment, update, and security of devices like computers, laptops, and servers.

Key features include application deployment, software updates, operating system deployment, endpoint protection, and inventory management. It provides a centralized platform for IT professionals to monitor and control the configuration of devices across the organization.

MECM facilitates efficient device management by streamlining tasks such as patch management, ensuring compliance with organizational policies, and simplifying software deployment. This results in improved security, system reliability, and overall IT operational effectiveness.

Services Available Through MECM

The following functions will be accessible from Windows computers on campus that have joined the Active Directory network.

#1. Endpoint Protection

When it comes to protecting Windows systems under management, MECM Endpoint Protection is the enterprise solution of choice. Also, when it comes to malicious software like viruses, malware, spyware, and rootkits, Endpoint Protection has you covered with real-time protection, automatic cleanup, and alerts. Microsoft updates its antivirus definition files as much as three times per day and pushes them out to its customers using MECM.

#2. Software Updates

The Software Updates component of MECM is a comprehensive suite of utilities designed to facilitate the tedious processes of managing, installing, tracking, and monitoring Microsoft Windows updates on workstations across an organization. For managed Windows computers, DIT will use MECM Software Updates to push out monthly security and critical Windows Updates and zero-day hotfixes.

#3. Hardware Inventory

MECM has the ability to detect specific hardware details of monitored devices and provide results via email and in-console examination. Hardware inventory can query Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes to obtain information about the system’s hardware, OS, and user accounts. Also, some program information can be returned from the Control Panel’s Programs and Features menu and applications installed via Windows Installer.

#4. Remote Assistance/Remote Control

From the Configuration Manager control panel, you can use MECM’s remote client administration tools. When a user is logged into Windows, Remote Assistance can be used to initiate a session with them and engage in in-session communication. The MECM console has a function called Remote Control that lets you take command of a managed machine from a remote location. With remote control, support staff can see the user’s screen and take their account into their own hands to help them out.

#5. Reporting

Using the Configuration Manager interface, you may access the powerful reporting features of SQL Server Reporting Services with the help of MECM’s collection of tools and resources. More than four hundred and fifty reports are available in the MECM console or via email in a number of different document formats.

#6. Operating System Deployment (OSD)

With MECM, system administrators may easily push out new software and settings to managed machines. In other words, OSD offers a method for system administrators to reset MECM-managed devices’ software configuration.

What Is the Role of the MECM Administrator?

A Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) administrator plays a crucial role in managing and maintaining an organization’s endpoint devices. Their responsibilities include overseeing the deployment and configuration of software, updates, and security policies across the network. MECM administrators manage application packaging and distribution and ensure software compliance.

They play a key role in optimizing system performance, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring endpoint security through the implementation of security baselines and compliance settings. MECM administrators also handle operating system deployments, creating and managing task sequences for efficient device provisioning.

Patch management is another critical aspect of their role, involving the testing and deployment of software updates to safeguard systems against vulnerabilities. Additionally, MECM administrators often collaborate with other IT teams to integrate endpoint management with broader IT infrastructure strategies.

Regular monitoring and reporting on the health and compliance of devices fall under their purview. In essence, MECM administrators contribute to the streamlined functioning of an organization’s IT ecosystem by efficiently managing and securing endpoint devices throughout their lifecycle. Also, read NETWORK ADMINISTRATOR: What Is It & What Do They Do?

MECM Training

Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) training provides IT professionals with comprehensive knowledge and skills to effectively deploy, manage, and troubleshoot endpoints within an organization. The training typically covers a range of topics, including MECM architecture, installation, and configuration. Participants learn to design and implement deployment strategies for applications, updates, and operating systems.

MECM training delves into security aspects, teaching administrators how to configure security settings and compliance policies and implement endpoint protection measures. The curriculum often includes hands-on exercises, allowing participants to practice tasks such as creating task sequences, configuring collections, and optimizing software distribution.

Participants gain proficiency in managing client health, resolving client-related issues, and implementing security baselines. Patch management is a critical component, focusing on strategies for testing and deploying updates efficiently.

Moreover, MECM training explores reporting and monitoring capabilities, enabling administrators to track system compliance, identify potential issues, and generate reports for stakeholders. As MECM is a versatile tool, training also covers integration with other Microsoft technologies and best practices for collaboration across IT teams.

Ultimately, MECM training empowers IT professionals with the expertise needed to maintain a secure, well-managed endpoint environment, contributing to the overall efficiency of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

What Is the Best Alternative to SCCM?

With Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), you can manage, protect, and set up devices and apps across your whole company. It is often used to protect endpoints, handle patches, and distribute software. Because it is a Microsoft product, SCCM is one of the most well-known systems management tools, and thousands of businesses rely on it.

While SCCM is a complete systems management solution, many businesses have to look for other options because it doesn’t handle all operating systems or all of their features. Also, there are a lot of strong alternatives to SCCM that can offer companies solutions that are easier to use, cheaper, and more flexible. Because of this, this article will show you the 5 best SCCM options, chosen based on their many useful features, ease of use, low cost, and other factors.

The following are the best-recommended and most reliable SCCM alternatives:

#1. Swimage

Many large corporations and government agencies rely on Swimage as their endpoint management solution of choice. It delivers complete PC lifecycle management, from new provisioning, OS upgrades, and OS repairs to PC replacements and PC migrations. Intelligent, time-saving, and risk-free options are provided for typical problems encountered in PC maintenance. In addition, it is widely acknowledged as the sole method capable of safely returning a PC to its original, fully functional state, in a matter of minutes, and without the need for any manual intervention.

Furthermore, Swimage can function independently or in tandem with your current system administration tool of choice. It provides an automated and adaptable process to guarantee effective rollouts. No matter the encryption method used, the data remains secure and encrypted throughout the whole process, including migration, deployment, and recovery. In a similar vein, it may transform encrypted data from one format to another without requiring a device decryption. Among Swimage’s most notable characteristics are:

  • Rebuild a PC in minutes
  • Rollback to the previous OS within two minutes
  • Restore multiple PCs in parallel
  • Remove malware
  • Ransomware risk mitigation and recovery (full system rebuild)
  • PC encryption conversion with zero-touch automation
  • Unified solution for PC deployment, migration, and OS recovery
  • Manage remote PCs’ health and handle issues in minutes
  • Real-time active deployment dashboard
  • Easy to install with minimal intervention

Swimage is an end-to-end solution for PC lifecycle modernization, making it suitable for businesses of any size. In addition to smart processes, it provides activity reports shortly after deployments, detailing information about success criteria and similar other parameters. Organizations can test out Swimage solutions by requesting a demo.

#2. SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM)

Since it supports network latency testing and connection analysis, as well as providing superior monitoring features for deeper network insights, SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is one of the best SCCM alternatives. It is useable with all major platforms and can even be installed via AWS or Azure marketplaces.

Anyone may use SolarWinds NPM because of its straightforward interface; no special knowledge or expertise is required. Also, SolarWinds NPM is a comprehensive network monitoring software that exceeds SCCM in many ways. For instance, it provides performance, availability, and fault monitoring so that issues in the network can be found and fixed quickly with minimal disruption to service. It has a license-specific upper limit of around 1,000,000 items per instance. SolarWinds NPM’s primary capabilities consist of:

  • Hop-by-hop monitoring and analysis
  • Wireless heatmaps
  • Customizable topology
  • Advanced alerts
  • Automated network discovery and mapping
  • Multi-vendor network monitoring
  • CMS distribution
  • Network insights
  • LAN monitoring
  • Monitoring hardware status

SolarWinds NPM can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud. It aids in monitoring the SDN environment’s logical components by providing a centralized location for access to physical and logical network monitoring capabilities. In addition to being more affordable than SCCM, it is also well-suited to companies of all sizes. You can try it risk-free for 30 days.

#3. ManageEngine Endpoint Central

ManageEngine Endpoint Central is a strong alternative to SCCM that is easy to deploy. It is an all-in-one endpoint management solution that not only makes client and agent configuration easy but also simplifies software updates. For instance, without requiring any setup, Endpoint Central may do a rapid system check, detect any available software updates, and install them in a flash.

Also, Endpoint Central provides a consolidated location for managing various endpoints, including personal computers, mobile devices, and servers. Endpoint Central provides greater flexibility and functionality than conventional PC management solutions. Regular endpoint management tasks like OS deployment, software deployment, patch installation, etc., are all automated by this solution. Among Endpoint Central’s most notable characteristics are:

  • Troubleshoot remote desktops
  • Endpoint security by regularly monitoring browsers, accessing vulnerabilities, etc.
  • Manage hardware and software assets and track warranty/license
  • Configure, secure and manage mobile devices
  • Automatic patch deployment for built-in and third-party applications
  • 4,500+ pre-defined application templates for effective software deployment
  • 25+ pre-defined configurations
  • Automatic OS imaging and deployment

Endpoint Central works on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows to give you a unified dashboard for managing your Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices. In short, it is a unified endpoint management platform that offers all the endpoint management functionalities enterprises need today. The free edition (ideal for small and medium-sized businesses) is compatible with up to 25 desktops and 25 mobile devices.

#4. NinjaOne Patch Management

When it comes to critical functions like asset management, patch management, remote monitoring, and application deployment, NinjaOne Patch Management is also a top-tier alternative to SCCM. It streamlines the process of applying patches by detecting and fixing flaws in computers and servers in real-time. Its cloud-based patching service is tailored to meet the requirements of modern businesses. For instance, it can patch any endpoint, no matter where it is located, so long as there is a reliable internet connection.

To streamline and automate the patch management process, NinjaOne Patch Management provides a simple setup and intuitive use. It gives you full command and visibility into the patching process, from discovery to approval to deployment. You can update Windows, Mac, and Linux all from the same control panel. Among NinjaOne Patch Management’s most notable features are:

  • Detailed reports on patch compliance status, known endpoint vulnerabilities, patch deployments, etc.
  • No VPN, company network, or domain required for patching
  • Cost-friendly due to cloud-based patching
  • Automate identification, downloading, and deployment of patches of OS and applications
  • Patch 135+ third-party applications
  • Remote monitoring and management
  • System backups

In addition to providing a clear picture of which endpoints are vulnerable and which are secured, NinjaOne provides in-depth insights into the performance and health of each endpoint. In a nutshell, NinjaOne Patch Management is a unified platform that equips IT departments with the means to automate endpoint patching and gain visibility into endpoint vulnerabilities. With the demo version, you can start using it right away.

#5. JumpCloud

JumpCloud, as its name suggests, is a unified device and identity management platform hosted in the cloud that revolutionizes how IT departments manage their own businesses. It gives an all-in-one area to manage user identities, access resources, protect Windows, Mac, and Linux devices, and receive a comprehensive view of the business environment.

JumpCloud is a cloud-based directory service that provides a user-friendly online interface and a sleek control panel for managing IT infrastructure, applications, and endpoints. Users can access processes and be onboarded or offboarded with ease thanks to the system’s secure credentials. Furthermore, JumpCloud’s compatibility with mixed-platform setups is a distinct advantage over SCCM. Some of JumpCloud’s most notable features are:

  • API automation and tools
  • Secure server and app authentication via cloud LDAP
  • Secure network authentication via cloud RADIUS
  • Integration with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Active Directory
  • Cloud-based unified device management
  • User lifecycle management across SSO applications
  • Event monitoring and reporting

JumpCloud also facilitates the implementation of the cutting-edge Zero Trust security framework, which encrypts the entire disk, etc., and configures devices using predefined policies. In addition, you can export information about events, directories, and devices for use in auditing or meeting regulatory requirements. With the demo version, you can start using it straight away.

MECM Certification

Microsoft does not offer a specific certification exclusively for Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM). However, there are related certifications that encompass MECM as a significant component of their curriculum. One such certification is the “Microsoft Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate.”

The Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification validates skills in deploying, configuring, securing, managing, and monitoring devices and client applications in an enterprise environment. It covers Microsoft 365 workloads, including MECM.

To earn this certification, candidates typically need to pass two exams:

  • Exam MD-100: Windows 10 – Focuses on deploying Windows, managing devices and data, configuring connectivity, and maintaining Windows.
  • Exam MD-101: Managing Modern Desktops – Emphasizes modern deployment and management strategies, device and application management, and compliance.

While MECM isn’t the sole focus, its role in modern desktop management is a crucial aspect of these exams. Microsoft periodically updates its certifications, so it’s advisable to check the official Microsoft certification website for the latest information on MECM-related certifications.

Candidates pursuing MECM-related roles often find value in acquiring broader certifications that encompass endpoint management, providing a comprehensive understanding of Microsoft’s ecosystem for efficient enterprise device management. Always refer to the official Microsoft certification page for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What Are the Benefits Of MECM?

Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) provides several benefits for organizations:

  • Centralized Management: MECM enables centralized management of endpoint devices, allowing administrators to efficiently deploy, configure, and update software across the organization from a single console.
  • Security Enhancement: The platform enhances security by implementing security baselines, compliance settings, and endpoint protection measures. It helps organizations stay vigilant against security threats by ensuring devices are properly configured and up-to-date.
  • Patch Management: MECM simplifies patch management by facilitating the testing and deployment of software updates. This helps organizations keep their systems current, reducing vulnerabilities and enhancing overall security.
  • Customizable Deployments: The flexibility of MECM allows administrators to customize deployment strategies for applications and updates. This adaptability is crucial for meeting the unique needs of different departments or user groups within an organization.
  • Operating System Deployment: MECM supports automated and standardized operating system deployments. This is particularly valuable for large-scale provisioning of devices, ensuring consistency and reducing the time and effort required for manual configurations.
  • Reporting and Monitoring: MECM offers robust reporting and monitoring capabilities, providing administrators with insights into the health, compliance, and performance of endpoint devices. This proactive approach allows for timely issue resolution and data-driven decision-making.
  • Integration with Microsoft Ecosystem: MECM seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft technologies, creating a cohesive ecosystem for IT management. Also, this integration enhances collaboration and interoperability across different IT functions within an organization.

In summary, MECM contributes to streamlined IT operations, improved security, and enhanced control over endpoint devices, making it a valuable tool for organizations of various sizes.

How to Get Started With MECM

To get started with Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM), follow these general steps:

#1. Installation and Configuration:

  • Install the MECM server by following the official documentation.
  • Configure basic settings during the installation process.
  • Ensure that all prerequisites are met, such as SQL Server configuration.

#2. Site Configuration:

  • Configure your MECM site settings, including boundaries, boundary groups, and discovery methods.
  • Define site system roles, such as distribution points and management points.

#3. Client Installation:

  • Deploy the MECM client to devices in your environment for management.
  • Verify that clients are successfully installed and communicating with the MECM server.

#4. Collections:

  • Create device collections to organize and manage your devices effectively.
  • Use queries or direct memberships to populate collections.

#5. Software Deployment:

  • Package and deploy software applications to target devices.
  • Monitor the deployment status and troubleshoot if needed.

#6. Updates and Patching:

  • Configure software update points for Windows updates.
  • Deploy updates to keep devices current and secure.

#7. Task Sequences:

  • Create task sequences for automated OS deployments or custom workflows.
  • Customize task sequences based on your organization’s requirements.

#8. Reporting and Monitoring:

  • Explore built-in reports to monitor the health and status of your environment.
  • Customize or create reports as needed.

#9. Security and Compliance:

  • Implement security baselines and compliance policies.
  • Regularly review and remediate compliance issues.

#10. User and Role Administration:

  • Set up user accounts and roles to control access to MECM features.
  • Define security scopes to limit visibility based on organizational structure.

#11. Documentation and Training:

  • Document your configurations and customizations.
  • Train your team on MECM features and best practices.

Always check the official Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager documentation for the most up-to-date information and instructions.

What Is Microsoft Replacing SCCM With?: Bottom Line

Microsoft has been encouraging organizations to transition from System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM). MECM is essentially an evolution of SCCM, and the transition reflects Microsoft’s shift towards modern management solutions.

MECM combines the capabilities of SCCM with Intune, Microsoft’s cloud-based endpoint management solution. This integration allows for a unified approach to managing both on-premises and cloud-based devices. While SCCM continues to be supported, MECM represents the preferred solution for modern device management.

Also, it’s essential to check for any updates or changes from Microsoft, as the technology landscape evolves and new solutions may be introduced. MECM is the successor to SCCM, providing a more comprehensive and integrated approach to managing and securing endpoint devices in today’s diverse computing environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does MECM replace SCCM?

Yes, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) is the evolved version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). MECM encompasses modern device management and expands beyond traditional SCCM capabilities.

Is Microsoft getting rid of SCCM?

SCCM is not going away. But a lot of companies are shifting their workloads server-less where possible, which removes the need for SCCM more and more.

Similar Articles

  2. CARBON BLACK CLOUD: Overview, Pricing, Features & Competitors
  3. AUTOMOX: Overview, Features, Pricing & More 2023


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like