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VMware AirWatch policy and configuration tips you might not know about

There are some under-the-radar features that IT pros can take advantage of when it comes to VMware AirWatch configuration and policy settings. Automation can also be beneficial.

ATLANTA -- A few underutilized AirWatch tips and tricks can make IT admins' jobs easier.

IT professionals learned about lesser-known VMware AirWatch enterprise mobility management platform features to take advantage of here at the AirWatch Connect conference. Top tips include testing changes to AirWatch policy settings with certain groups of users, taking advantage of automation and using the audit console to track information such as device inventory. Chase Bradley, solutions engineer for the company, shared this advice in a session called "10 Awesome Admin Hacks."

Test AirWatch configuration changes

IT should always perform change control and user acceptance testing (UAT) when making changes to AirWatch policy, settings and configurations. That way, admins can ensure everything will still run smoothly after they make changes. To test changes before implementing them in production, admins can create a separate UAT environment within the platform that sandboxes any changes they make.

It's not a bad idea to test changes in a UAT environment for IT staff members' own devices first, because those users will be more understanding if something goes wrong. Admins can do this by creating user groups, which organizes a user population into separate categories and their enrolled devices based on similar policies they'll need. IT can group users by job role or by department. Admins assign policies to devices in those groups based on variables such as the location a user accesses his or her corporate resources from.

Take advantage of automation and auditing

VMware AirWatch offers the ability to automatically block users' access to corporate information or wipe business content from devices if someone leaves the company.

There is also automatic reporting. To keep track of inventory status information, such as the lifecycle of a device or how many types of certain devices are in the organization, admins should use the AirWatch reporting console. IT can set up AirWatch to automatically send these inventory reports to team members who need the information on a regular basis.

"If you need to run a report over and over again, that's the way to do it," Bradley said.

One last feature that helps admins is the audit console in the system log. The audit console is different from the reporting console in that it logs settings changes IT admins make in AirWatch. This console tells admins what a setting originally was, what it changed to and when the change occurred.

"Has anyone ever had a question about what happened to [a] device?" Bradley said. "Why did it do X? Why did it lock? Why did it wipe? This is the place to figure everything out that you would need to look at."

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