What’s Next with Windows Intune

Today at the Microsoft Management Summit, Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Management and Security Division, shared an early look at some of the updates and new features we’re working on for the next release of Windows Intune.

Windows Intune is our cloud-based management solution that provides tools, reports and an upgrade license to the latest version of Windows to help keep organizations’ PCs up-to-date and secure from virtually anywhere. In the next release of Windows Intune, we will expand management and security benefits to cover mobile devices and add people centric management capabilities. We focused on these areas of development for the next release because customers have been telling us that device proliferation is one of the most pressing challenges they’re facing in their business, and we saw an opportunity to help with Windows Intune.

These new features will help businesses keep costs low and simplify management by offering one cloud based solution for both PC and mobile device management. More and more users are bringing their own devices into the workplace, including smartphones and tablets. Whether corporate or user-owned, one of our goals with Windows Intune is to help manage and secure mobile devices without adding onerous cost and complexity. Staying true to this goal, the price of Windows Intune will remain the same at $11 USD per PC, per month, even though we’re adding the ability to also manage up to four mobile devices per seat.

Mobile Device Management

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

People Centric Management

Like Office 365, the next release will offer the ability to manage user accounts with accounts created in the Windows Azure Active Directory, so that IT can provide users with software personalized to their role, ensuring they have the tools they need to be productive. 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. 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. As with previous releases, the next release of Windows Intune will 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.

Stay Tuned for the Next Release of Windows Intune

With Windows, our goal is to give end users the experiences they love and offer enterprise grade solutions that organizations need. The next release of Windows Intune will do just that – it will 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.

We hope you’ll take a look at these new features in Windows Intune and consider how they can help you in your business. For those of you interested, we’re offering a limited opportunity to try out some key features coming in the next release, including the self-service Company Portal. To learn about the new features, see What’s New in Windows Intune.

I also encourage you to check out and test the current version of Windows Intune and see what it can do for your business – you can sign up for a free 30 day trial or purchase the service and receive updates to the next release when it becomes commercially available.

I know a lot of folks are testing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview; however, please note that Windows Intune will not support Windows 8 until after it is generally available. If you choose to test Windows Intune in an unsupported environment and need help, we recommend visiting the Windows Intune Forum on TechNet or the Windows 8 IT Pro Forum.