When Windows 10 releases, Microsoft plans on giving more choices for how companies decide to manage computers and devices.
For device and computer management, Microsoft is still offering the bevy of options that companies are already familiar with, including Active Directory GPO and System Center Configuration Manager, but through the use of Azure connected Active Directory accounts, Microsoft is planning to blur the lines between Cloud-based and on-premises management.
In a blog post late last week, Microsoft's Jim Alkove described how some new options for identity through Azure will give customers new options.
In Windows 10, Microsoft will add the capability for users to use Azure Active Directory accounts to logon to Windows locally, and at the same time have that information synched with the local organization's Active Directory infrastructure. By connecting Azure AD to on-premises AD, users can be automatically logged-in and access services in Azure while maintaining logins for local resources.
This also means that Cloud-based management tools, like Microsoft Intune, become even more attractive. System Center Configuration Manager already provides a conduit between on-premises management and the Microsoft Intune service, allowing companies to take full advantage of Mobile Device Management of non-Microsoft platforms like iOS and Android. But, the conduit has always been seen as a temporary fix. A lot of development has gone into Microsoft Intune in the last few years, making it robust management tool and causing some companies to second-guess their Configuration Manager implementations. Some (not a lot) have opted to migrate completely from Configuration Manager to Microsoft Intune for managing the entire computer and device landscape.
Identity management is the key to the Cloud and it seems like Microsoft is moving in that direction for Windows 10. Robust and feature-rich services are great, but it’s the seamless handling of logins that will win the Cloud. I'll explain this further in an upcoming post, but without good identity management, the Cloud is just as another web property.