Microsoft Intune MDM Update Embraces Office on Android Tablets

An update for Microsoft's mobile-device management service helps administrators manage Office on Android devices and improve security.

mobile device management

Microsoft Intune, the company's cloud-based, multiplatform mobile-device management (MDM) service, is getting new updates this week, including features that allow organizations to get a better handle on their workers' Android devices.

In February, Microsoft rolled out Office mobile (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) management capabilities for Android smartphones. This week, Android tablets can get in on the act, the company announced. Microsoft gave the general public its first look at Office for Android in early January after nixing the beta registration requirement. Last month, the company announced that Samsung would be bundling the software with select Android tablets.

Also making its debut this week is the ability to restrict access to on-premise Exchange deployments for Android devices running Exchange ActiveSync clients. Administrators will also be able to create WiFi profiles with pre-shared keys (PSK) for Android smartphones and tablets. Finally, the update will include a feature that resolves "certificate chains on Android devices without the need to deploy each intermediate certificate individually," said Microsoft.

On the Apple iOS front, Microsoft is releasing support for the Intune Managed Browser app. Available for Android devices since December, the app enables IT administrators to set restrictions on a user's Web browsing activities, including allowing or restricting access to specific sites. The Intune update will also include controls for managing Work Folders, an iOS app that provides secure access to work files.

Microsoft is also readying Intune for the arrival of Windows 10, the company's flagship operating system. This week's update allows administrators to natively manage Windows Defender, Microsoft's malware protection software, on PCs with the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed, doing away with the need for a separate Microsoft Intune Endpoint Protection agent.

On a related note, Microsoft is also releasing an updated version of its Endpoint Protection agent this week. The update also allows administrators to deploy .appx bundles—.appx files enable application "sideloading" on the Windows Phone platform—to Windows Phone 8.1 handsets.

After Microsoft applies the update to all Intune customers, users will notice several interface tweaks that are designed to provide a more harmonious look and feel across devices.

The Intune Company Portal Websites have been combined, delivering the same user experience for PC and mobile devices users. The Intune admin consoles overview pages sport a newly enhanced user interface, according to Microsoft, and the Download Center now displays organization-specific Windows and Windows Phone Company Portal apps.

To check on the status of the update in a given region, customers are encouraged to visit the Microsoft Intune status page, which currently shows that the service will be undergoing maintenance periodically during the Week of April 20–24. And more updates are in the works, Microsoft said. "Along with the Intune service updates, we are releasing monthly, you can also expect new features to be made available soon for those using System Center Configuration Manager integrated with Intune (hybrid)."

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...