Consumerization is an area that is changing and moving quickly, and I believe the industry is also at an important time where we really need to step back and define what our ultimate destination looks like.
I think there is a great deal of agreement across the industry on what we are all trying to accomplish – and this is aligned with Microsoft’s vision. Microsoft’s vision is to enable people to be productive on all the devices they love while helping IT ensure that corporate assets are secure and protected.
One particular principle that I am especially passionate about is the idea that the modern, mobile devices which are built to consume cloud services should get their policy and apps delivered from the cloud. Put another way: Modern mobile devices should be managed from a cloud service.
One of the reasons I am such a big believer in this is the rapid pace at which new devices and updates to the devices are released. Enabling people across all the devices they love brings with it the need to stay abreast of the changes and updates happening across Windows, iOS, and the myriad of Android devices. By delivering this as a service offering, we can stay on top of this for you. Thus, as changes are needed, we simply update the service and the new capabilities are available for you. This means no longer needing to update your on-premises infrastructure – we take care of all of it for you.
System Center Configuration Manager is the undisputed market leader in managing desktops around the world, and now we are delivering many of our MDM/MAM capabilities from the cloud. We have deeply integrated our Intune cloud service with ConfigMgr so organizations can take advantage of managing all of their devices in one familiar control plane using their existing IT skills. Put simply: We are giving organizations the choice of using their current ConfigMgr console extended with the Intune service, or doing everything from the cloud using only Intune if they wish to do management without an on-premises infrastructure.
On a fairly regular basis I encounter the question about whether or not cloud-based management is robust enough for enterprise organizations. My response to this has surprised our partners and customers with just how powerful a cloud-based solution can be. The answer is a resounding, “Heck yes it is robust and secure enough!”
Windows Intune and Windows Azure Active Directory puts IT leadership in the driver’s seat by allowing an organization to define and manage user identities and access, operate a single administrative console to manage devices, deliver apps, and help protect data.
The result is employee satisfaction, a streamlined infrastructure, and a more efficient IT team – all with existing, familiar, on-prem investments extended to the cloud.
This holistic approach is central to Microsoft’s strategy to help organizations solve one of the most complex and difficult tasks facing IT teams today: Mobile device management (MDM).
As I discussed on the GigaOM Mobilize panel back in October (on the topic of “The Future of Mobile and the Enterprise,” recapped here), it wasn’t that long ago that an IT department worked in a pretty homogenous hardware and software environment – essentially everything was a PC. Today, IT teams are responsible for dozens of form factors and multiple platforms that require specific processes, skills, and maintenance.
Helping organizations proactively manage this new generation of IT is what makes me so excited about the advancements and innovation we are delivering as a part of next week’s update to the Windows Intune service. These updates include:
- Support for e-mail profiles that can configure a device with the correct e-mail server information and related policies – and it can also remove that profile and related e-mail via a remote wipe.
- In addition to our unified deployment mode and integration with System Center Configuration Manager, Windows Intune can now stand alone as a cloud-only MDM solution. This is a big win for organizations that want a cloud-only management solutions to manage both their mobile devices and PC’s.
- There is also support for new data protection settings in iOS 7 – including the “managed open in” capability that protects corporate data by controlling the apps and accounts that can open documents and attachments.
- This update also enables broader protection capabilities like remotely locking a lost device, or resetting a device’s PIN if forgotten.
Windows Intune offers simple and comprehensive device management, regardless of the platform, for the devices enterprises are already using, with the IT infrastructure they already own.
Looking ahead to later this year, we will continue to launch additional updates to the service including the ability to allow/deny apps from running (or accessing certain sites), conditional access to e-mail depending upon the status of the device, app-specific restrictions regarding how apps interact and use data, and bulk enrollment of devices.
This functionality is delivered as part of the rapid, easy-to-consume, and ongoing updates that are possible with a cloud-based service.
Today’s announcements are just a small example of the broader set of innovations Microsoft has been developing. Our focus on a people-centric approach to solving consumerization challenges has led to a number of product improvements and updates like:
- Windows Azure Active Directory Premium Preview (for cloud-based identity and access management, including single-sign-on and access management for SaaS apps).
- Microsoft Remote Desktop apps (available now for iOS, Android, and Mac OS X – which I wrote about in late October).
- Company Portals as part of the Windows Intune service (for consistent access to your apps, your data, and your devices across platforms).
The number of factors at work within this Consumerization of IT trend make it clear that to effectively address it we have to think beyond devices and focus on a broader set of challenges and opportunities.
Microsoft is in a unique position to address the holistic needs behind this industry shift with things like public cloud management, private cloud management, identity management, access management, security, and more.
For organizations who haven’t already evaluated Microsoft’s device management solutions – now is the time. With the rapid release and innovation cycle offered by a cloud-based service like Intune, the ability to keep your infrastructure optimized, efficient, and secure has never been easier.