Before we list what Intune can do and sing its praises, allow us to ask just one question: Are you reading this on a phone?
Sure, we often complain about the “always-on” work culture. But there’s no doubt that our productivity and engagement have soared with the introduction of mobile devices into the work environment. This started with “Bring your own device” (BYOD) programs, which made sense as people preferred just one device for work and personal life.
Early Blackberry and Apple Mobile Device Management products first enabled corporate IT to manage smartphone the stored data they held. Soon after, Microsoft’s Intune for PC management was re-tooled when the product team learned that companies wanted mobile devices (like phones) managed too.
Knowing this history helps us understand where Intune is today, and what it can do. Microsoft Intune is now a tool for unified endpoint management (UEM), helping organizations achieve their digital transformation goals. It is a cloud-based service, one of many offered through the Microsoft Azure portal. As a UEM tool, Intune is used to manage both mobile devices and PCs, helping to control access, protect data, and ensure compliance across the organization.
As for the future, Gartner predicts that by 2020 a full 30% of company-owned Windows 10 PCs will be managed using UEM tools of some kind or another. And Intune will be a big player, especially because access to Intune comes with many licenses already.
None of this is news. Many IT departments have already switched to Intune, or are considering a switch. But I’ve run into many departments that have questions about what Intune can do and how to get started. So, clearly, there is still a disconnect there.
Let’s take a moment, then, and drill down into what Intune can do.
Wait, Why Use Intune? The Benefits
Because it is a cloud-based solution, Intune makes both getting started and scaling up very easy. I tell people that they can get up and running with Intune in an afternoon; in fact, I encourage people to get a free license and try it out!
Besides the free trial license, Intune’s pricing is based on the number of users each month, so the barrier to entry is really low. Unlike on-prem solutions, the setup is fairly easy and straightforward, and there’s no need to monkey with licenses, etc.
Intune offers a number of other benefits as well:
- A good set of management capabilities, all housed in one place
- Ability to manage encryption, wipe devices, and protect data
- Can reach devices that are far away or difficult to manage (at a remote field office, for example)
- Does not require a high level of expertise to get started
- Lets you deploy software and updates more quickly and easily
Can Intune Replace SCCM?
Not really. For example, Intune cannot image a desktop or laptop like SCCM can. So, organizations already using SCCM might want to continue doing so, or using Intune along with on-prem solutions in a hybrid environment (in cases where it makes sense). Model would be glad to discuss which tool has which capability fitting your needs.
Can Intune Deploy Software? What About 3rd-Party Software?
Yes, with Intune you can deploy software. The Line-of-Business App mechanism, for example, can be used to push out single packages. There is also full PowerShell script support, so that tool can be used to download and install software as well.
Can Intune Push OS Updates?
Yes. You can also measure compliance and restrict system access using its OS version.
Can Intune Manage Android? iOS?
Yes. In fact, Intune was designed from the ground up for Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), and so does well to manage these popular mobile platforms.
And before you ask “Can Intune push iOS updates…,” let me just say: Yes, it can—for iOS 10.3 and later (supervised). Intune’s software update policies let you force supervised iOS devices to automatically install the latest available OS update. You can even specify the days and times when you do or don’t want updates to install.
Can Intune Manage BlackBerry?
No, but this needs to be qualified. BlackBerry, the hardware manufacturer, went bankrupt and no longer exists. And so few phones out there still use the BlackBerry OS. Most of the phones that go by the label “BlackBerry” are produced by a Chinese company (TCL), and they use the Android OS. So those phones are compatible with Intune.
Can Intune Manage Laptops?
Yes, if the laptop runs a compatible OS. You can find a list of compatible operating systems and browsers here; they include most versions of Windows 10 and Windows 8, and Mac OS X 10.12 (and later).
(See next question.)
Can Intune Manage Chromebooks?
As of this writing, no.
Can Intune Manage Linux?
Can Intune Manage Macs?
Yes, it can now support devices running Mac OS X, though it might require some additional setup. You can find out more via the original announcement from Microsoft.
Getting Started with Intune
As I mentioned above, there is a trial license for Intune, provided with most EMS licenses. So it’s relatively easy to get started with Intune to “play around with it.”
My suggestions: Create a dummy account in Azure active directory, then use this to start your free Intune trial. This will allow you to discover what Intune can do without disrupting anything else.
When You’re Ready for Prime Time, Let Model Help
Yeah, it’s totally easy to get started with Intune. But running an entire enterprise using Intune takes a little more experience and know-how.
This is where we can help. Model Technology Solutions has decades of experience managing infrastructure using Microsoft tools. This means that we can just as easily get you started with Intune fresh as help you transition your existing environment or put together a hybrid solution—whatever is needed to ensure that everything works seamlessly.
We can also help manage your endpoints for you, using our full complement of automation tools, so you can instead focus on other priorities.