Cloud Computing: Windows Intune Beta Takes Management to the Clouds
Windows Intune beta 2
by Andrew Garcia
When first logging into the InTune portal, administrators get at-a-glance perspective of malware and patching status across the managed fleet, as well as any relevant alerts.
Windows Intune Center
This is the primary client-side interface for Intune. From this screen, users can launch Windows Update, the anti-malware application, or request a remote assistance session with a live admin.
After the initial Intune agent gets installed on a client, it silently downloads and installs 10 more applications and agents that provide Intune's monitoring and security services.
Remote Assistance Alert
When a user requests remote assistance, the alert pops up in the Intune portal after a moment or two. The admin drills down into the alert to answer the request.
Remote assistance uses Easy Assist (which is already installed on the client side, and must be installed on the admin PC as well). Easy assist allows for desktop or application sharing, provides an inline chat window, and an inline file transfer mechanism.
As part of Easy Assist, users can transmit files to the remote administrator. Here, the user uploads the troubleshooting file produced by Windows 7's Problem Steps Recorder (psr.exe).
After completing a task, such as answering a remote assistance query, administrators can cross the task off their to-do list.
The Intune portal alerts of any client malware activity, spelling out affected hosts, actions taken (with status), and relevant threat information.
On the client side, Intune malware protection is based on the same code as Microsoft Security Essentials.
Intune Center Policy
Intune theoretically allows admins to push policies out to groups of managed computers. Here, we push out IT contact details to display on in the Intune Center on Windows 7 clients. Incidentally, we have been unable to successfully push out a policy during our tests.
Administrators can push out client firewall behavior for all three network profile types: domain, private, and public.
Administrators can push out policies to configure both the Windows Update and the security software. If conflicting Group Policies already exist for these behaviors, Group Policies override Intune Policies.
The Intune agent captures client hardware details, allowing the administrator to see within the console, details about equipment and system configuration.
Administrators can take inventory of installed software across the Intune-managed fleet, getting a network-wide view of all installed applications. Or admins can drill down to see the software on a single machine.
Administrators can track license usage across managed computer by uploading licensing information to Intune.