Microsoft Intune MDM Now Manages Android Office Apps

Microsoft's mobile productivity push continues with the addition of integrated Office app management tools for the rival mobile operating system.

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In its bid to make Office synonymous with mobile productivity, Microsoft has updated its cloud-based Intune mobile device management (MDM) platform to integrate with Office apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) running on Android devices.

Currently being rolled out to Intune customers, the February update allows customers to manage employee use of the apps, similar to existing capabilities available for iOS. "This includes the ability to restrict actions such as copy/cut/paste outside of the managed app ecosystem," said Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise, in a Feb. 6 blog post.

"The Android mobile apps that were released last week are all now deeply manageable with Intune," continued Anderson, before noting that Microsoft is the only MDM provider to offer the functionality on the two leading mobile operating systems. "It's also really important to point out that Intune is unique in the ability to manage the Office mobile apps on iOS and Android."

The Redmond, Wash.-based company has been picking up the pace in updating Microsoft Intune, formerly Windows Intune before the company settled on a more platform-agnostic approach to MDM. In December, the company unveiled new built-in app container tech that keeps personal and work data separate. A month prior, customers were treated to a new interface and new features like bulk enrollment on a single account.

This month's update also adds OneNote app management for iOS and the option "to browse and install apps on Windows Phone 8.1 devices using the Intune Company Portal website," said Anderson. The remainder of the updates, according to company, include:

  • Deployment of WiFi profiles for Windows devices using XML import and Windows Phone devices using OMA-URI (deployment of WiFi profiles currently supported for iOS and Android devices);
  • Support for Cisco AnyConnect per-app VPN configurations for iOS devices;
  • Ability to require encryption on Windows 8.1 (x86) devices; and
  • Ability to set minimum classification of platform updates to be installed automatically on Windows 8.1 (x86) devices.

Finally, Microsoft is preparing some new tools that allow companies to fine-tune their access policies.

Anderson also revealed that his company is readying the release of "conditional access capabilities for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business," which are slated to arrive in the next few weeks. Those capabilities will enable businesses to tailor their mobile policies to help them restrict or enable access to corporate information in more flexible ways, he explained.

"I think the conditional access capabilities we have built across Azure Active Directory, Intune, and the Office apps will be among the most intriguing and valuable capabilities we are delivering," he stated.
"The concept here is to allow access to apps, e-mail, data—but only when the device meets a specific set of criteria." According to a related support document, administrators can set rules depending on whether encryption is enabled or if a device is jailbroken, among other user and device attributes.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...