Cloud services are built on a principle of flexibility and agility in responding to customer needs and driving iterative improvements over time, so it’s a fact of life that those of us who use cloud services on a regular basis have to be ready and willing to accept change. No, not just accept change--embrace it.
It seems almost laughable now to wait extended periods of time for the next major update to fix bugs or improve the UI. Not only do you have to wait for such things, you also have to figure out how to deploy them yourself throughout your enterprise.
Of course there are still plenty of reasons to maintain your on-premises software, but cloud services are slowly, but surely, making their way into the hearts and minds of many die-hard administrators who are beginning to see the value that these services bring.
Whether it is Microsoft Azure inviting you to reload the admin portal because new features have been added or, as some of you might have noticed this week, your Windows Intune portal suddenly becoming Microsoft Intune and presenting you with a completely new user interface overnight, cloud services are constantly being improved both esthetically and functionally.
So, how the heck do you stay up-to-date on what is going on these days? No, that’s not a rhetorical question, I’m actually curious how you do it. Add a comment to this post or find me on Twitter @jeffgilb and let me know what your favorite way to keep in the know on service updates is.
The one way I have always relied on personally is keeping up with the latest TechNet documentation updates—which you should really consider something of a SaaS app in itself considering how often they are being updated these days!
What’s New with Microsoft Intune?
Not only did Intune change names from Windows Intune to Microsoft Intune and get a facelift on the administrator console, it also quite arguably had its most significant update release in the service’s lifetime to enable functionality that many people have been asking for to bring capabilities a little closer to on par with its on-premises big brother System Center Configuration Manager.
Don’t know what those are? I’ll tell you a little that I learned from the recent Microsoft Intune TechNet documentation library update for November 2014:
- Conditional access updates have been made that allow you to restrict access to on-premises Microsoft Exchange email via device policies.
- VPN and Wi-Fi profiles can be managed to make it easier for users to connect to resources and access applications.
- You can now manage access to company resources using authentication certificates for managed devices connecting over those VPN and Wi-Fi profiles.
- Updates have been made to support email profiles for devices that run Samsung KNOX.
- A new app type has been added called Managed mobile apps for iOS that helps you deploy free apps from the app store.
- You can make mobile device app deployments required now and use app updates to update previously deployed apps automatically.
- Remote passcode reset is supported on Windows devices now.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is now supported during device enrollment when used in conjunction with AD FS for on-premises authentication.
- You can now use filtered groups to define actions individual admins can take.
- You can specify a list of apps that users can and can’t install on their devices.
- A new kiosk mode has been added that lets you lock devices and allow only certain apps or features to work.
- In addition to the latest service updates, the Windows Phone Company Portal app is also now available in the Microsoft Store so that you can easily enroll Windows devices without a certificate.
Keep in Touch
I’d say that’s a lot of improvements for one update! I’m almost out of breath just reading all of that, but if you are still curious for more details you can go read more about the latest and greatest release of Microsoft Intune here.
If you still have questions or comments about anything you can always reach out to the docs team and tell them Jeff sent you! You can email them at [email protected], talk to them on Twitter, and even find them on Facebook.