Windows Intune Latest Beta Open to Testers; Offers Compay Portal, Better Management and Security Features; Download Windows Intune Getting Started Guide

During the Microsoft Management Summit 2012, Brad Anderson, cvp of Microsoft's Management and Security Division, shared an early look at some of the updates and new features the company is working on for the next release of Windows Intune.The next release of Windows Intune is expected to have enhanced management and security benefits cover mobile […]

During the Microsoft Management Summit 2012, Brad Anderson, cvp of Microsoft's Management and Security Division, shared an early look at some of the updates and new features the company is working on for the next release of Windows Intune.

The next release of Windows Intune is expected to have enhanced management and security benefits cover mobile devices and add people centric management capabilities.

With the upcoming update to Intune, Microsoft hopes to make it easier than ever to manage those who bring their own devices into the workplace and will help businesses keep costs low by having one cloud based solution for both PC and mobile device management.

Windows Intune April 2012 beta

It'll help solve the consumerization challenge that businesses are facing today, and because Windows Intune is cloud-based, partners and customers get to take advantage of innovations as soon as they're available.

The price of Windows Intune will remain the same at $11 USD per PC, per month, even though with the ability to manage up to four mobile devices per seat.

This new version of Intune will:

Mobile Device Management: The next release of Inture will integrate with Windows Server Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange Server, allowing to manage the devices brought into the workplace, even if they're not owned by the organization. Windows Intune's mobile device management will support any device with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync capabilities, including Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

IT will also be able to use Windows Intune to set security policies for mobile devices and enforce password protection, encryption and even kick off a remote wipe if a device is compromised.

People Centric Management: The next release will offer the ability to manage user accounts with accounts created in the Windows Azure Active Directory. IT will also be able to link onsite Windows Server Active Directory to the Windows Azure Active Directory service so that user accounts and security groups can be synchronized with Windows Intune, allowing IT to easily manage users and devices.

Company Portal: "Windows Intune will offer a self-service, customizable Company Portal that is simple to create and will allow IT to provide employees with the apps and tools they need to stay productive," Microsoft adds.

"IT can target the portal to user profiles and employees can access it through a range of mobile devices including Windows PCs, iOS and Android devices. This enables IT to post apps that users might want to use, rather than push out to their PCs. When a user arrives at the portal they will see all of the available apps ready for download," Microsoft explains.

The new Intune will also include upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows as part of the monthly subscription. This enables IT to standardize on the most up-to-date version of the OS, reducing costs while keeping Windows-based PCs up-to-date and secure from virtually anywhere.

The new Intune beta is limited to 10 PCs running Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista and/or Windows 7. Windows 8 Consumer Preview is not supported and "Windows Intune will not support Windows 8 until after it is generally available," Microsoft officials said in today's blog post.

The new release of Windows Intune includes the ability to download "licensed available line-of-business software applications" on devices running iOS and Android. According to the documentation, the new Intune release will support Windows Phones running version 7.0 or later of the Windows Phone OS; iPads, iPad 2s and iPhones running iOS 4.0 or later; and Android-based phones devices running Android 2.1 or later.

No word yet on a release date.

For those interested, Microsoft is offering a limited opportunity to try out some key features coming in the next release, including the self-service Company Portal. You can also sign up for a free 30 day trial.

To learn about the new features, see What's New in Windows Intune.

Microsoft also made available "Windows Intune Getting Started Guide," a set of tutorials designed to help you set up your new Windows Intune environment and explore the main features of Windows Intune.

The guide covers:

  • Getting Started with the Administration Console
  • Adding Administrators
  • Manage Update and Automatic Approvals
  • Set up Alerts Notifications
  • Setting Your Default Policies
  • Client Enrollment
  • Organizing Your Computers
  • Creating Reports
  • Customizing Report Templates
  • Creating a Malware Status Report
  • Using Workspace Filters
  • Creating Software Inventory Reports
  • Working with Remote Assistance
  • Working with Multiple Accounts

Download the Windows Intune Getting Started Guide.