In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we have been working closely with our customers to help them address the new reality. As such, we recently published tips to help IT admins to enable secure, remote access. Today, we want to provide guidance for our developers to ensure the apps you build can be easily accessible to all workers, anywhere. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) can help unlock secure, remote access to the apps you build while providing benefits such as: reduced costs and time savings and centralized administration. If your organization is using Azure AD we have put together our top 5 recommendations for application developers enabling apps to work remotely:
1. Upgrade your application to use cloud authentication
This is a foundational step in making your solutions available outside your corporate network and enabling remote workers to access them. Moving application authentication to Azure AD provides additional benefits such as:
Enhanced security - Safeguard access to your apps by allowing admins to enforce strong authentication and risk-based access policies
Improved productivity - Provide seamless end-user access with single sign-on and help your workforce, including partners, discover apps they need.
Reduced IT cost - Save time and resources by allowing admins to centralize management of all their apps including the ones you build.
Depending on your development environment, implementing cloud authentication for your applications using the Microsoft Identity platform can be a relatively quick task. You can start migrating your application authentication to Azure AD following our guidance here.
If you’re a developer or ISV interested in integrating your application with Azure AD for use by customers outside your organization, you can onboard your application to the Azure AD App Gallery by submitting your request here. Thousands of our customers’ favorite apps are pre-integrated for Single sign-on and/or automated user provisioning and each have a tutorial to help get customers setup.
2. Add the Microsoft Intune SDK to your mobile apps
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service that focuses on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). Intune enables users to be productive while keeping organization data protected. It can be used to control who has access, what they have access to, and enables your workforce to be productive on all their devices, while keeping your organization's data protected.
Another way to enable remote access to your apps is by integrating them into Microsoft Teams, which takes a comprehensive approach to privacy, security, and compliance to deliver an enterprise-grade communication and collaboration experience. We’ve seen tremendous growth with Microsoft Teams as more organizations adopt remote work environments. The Microsoft Teams developer platform makes it easy for developers to integrate their own apps and services to improve productivity, make decisions faster, provide focus and create collaboration around existing content and workflows. You can learn more on how to integrate your apps with the Microsoft Teams platform here.
4. Leverage Microsoft Graph to build solutions with remote workers in mind
As you develop new solutions or update existing applications you can leverage the Microsoft Graph toolkit for several useful scenarios that are central to remote work. Below you can find some ideas on how to use Microsoft Graph APIs to improve your users’ productivity and efficiency through your apps:
5. Move fast with the Power Platform to quickly create solutions for your remote workers
The Power Platforms empowers enterprises to build and launch apps right away using pre-built templates, drag and drop simplicity and quick deployment, all backed by Microsoft’s powerful cloud infrastructure and robust security with Azure AD. There are some great scenarios where Power Apps can be used alongside Azure AD and Microsoft Graph to support remote work and provide a better experience to employees. The examples below show how you can use the Office templates in Power Apps to increase your employee productivity and efficiency:
Onboarding Tasks – this is useful for getting new employees acquainted with their role while being remote. You can use Power Apps to quickly pull contacts in their immediate team, create or complete getting started tasks as part of their onboarding or update their profile image.
Leave request / Out of Office – working from home doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for time off. Alternatively, you may want to quickly add an OOF message as you help kids with their homework. Power Apps can help users set their Outlook status, get their manager details, and get top collaborators to send out OOF messages to.
Meeting capture – working from home means an increase of meetings since we don’t have the luxury of face to face conversations in the office. Employees can use Power Apps to get a list of all their meetings for the day and even record notes or tasks in One Note or planner.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to use the Power Platform and Microsoft Graph API to build low-code solutions and enable remote work for your employees, we highly recommend you check our PowerApps Training for Office or this 3-min demo that shows some of the platform capabilities.