Microsoft Intune: Cloud-based Managed Services?

Microsoft Intune: Cloud-based Managed Services?

Microsoft is starting to chat quite a bit about Intune, a forthcoming cloud-based platform for remote Windows  PC administration. But will Intune become a full-blown managed services platform? And will MSPs plug in? Here are some clues.

Currently in beta, it's safe to expect Intune buzz during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (July 11-15, Washington, D.C.). Microsoft says MSPs and end-customers can use the Windows Intune to:

  • Manage updates
  • Protect PCs from malware
  • Proactively monitor PCs
  • Provide remote assistance
  • Track hardware & software inventory
  • Set security policies
You'll also find an online demo here.

In some ways, Intune sounds like a basic, cloud-based remote monitoring and management platform for PCs running Windows 7 (Enterprise, Ultimate and Professional), Windows Vista (Enterprise, Ultimate and Business) and/or Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2 or 3). Plus, InTune is based on Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Still A Windows World?

But Intune sets up a familiar challenge for MSPs: It's Windows-centric. Plus the Windows Intune Web console requires a Web browser that supports Silverlight 3.0 -- such as Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher.

In recent months, MSPmentor has heard from a flood of readers pushing MSP software providers to support all of the major browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and even Apple Safari, among others). Plus, MSP platform providers like Kaseya have openly stated that Macs have gained critical mass in SMB settings, so Mac support is now a growing requirement for many MSPs and their software providers.

Frankly, I'm not sure MSPs want "yet another tool" that focuses on a targeted market segment (i.e., Windows desktops). Most of the MSPs I hear from want a single dashboard for supporting all infrastructure -- mobile devices, desktops, servers, network systems, Windows, Mac, Linux, applications, etc.

Of course, there are plenty of Microsoft-centric partners and customers in the market. I wonder if Intune will gain critical mass with those folks.

Microsoft has yet to announce Intune pricing. We'll dig for more information at the Worldwide Partner Conference starting July 11.

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