Microsoft has released more details about its Windows Intune product for customers eyeing the cloud-based PC management service.
Officially launched in late March, Windows Intune can take on basic PC administration from companies that don't have the staff to handle it internally. Perhaps best suited to small and midsized businesses but available to larger companies as well, Intune can keep PCs updated with the latest software and security patches. Business owners can also use the service to monitor their PCs, make sure they have the right updates, and provide remote assistance to their end users.
Confirming that Intune is meant strictly for Windows PCs, Microsoft said that the service won't work on mobile phones or non-Windows PCs. Neither will it support thin clients or servers. Companies that need to manage servers still need to maintain a more hands-on approach by using the tools built into Windows Server or using Microsoft's more robust lineup of System Center products.
But businesses that currently use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) to keep their PCs updated could replace WSUS with Intune, according to Microsoft. The company touted Intune as more capable than WSUS as it offers security protection, updates, remote assistance, hardware and software inventory, and the rights to upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise on all supported PCs.
Beyond traditional companies, consultants who work with a variety of customers can also use Intune to manage their PCs. The Windows Intune management console can give consultants a quick snapshot of all their customers with the ability to drill down to specific ones.
Finally, Microsoft touched on security, a prime concern when using cloud-based services. The company confirmed that the PCs with the Intune client installed and the service itself talk to one other through port 443, which is used for secure HTTPS communication. Further, the client software includes a unique certificate to ensure that each PC is connecting to the cloud service with the correct authorized account.
More information is available on the Windows Intune forum.