Ignite 2022: Microsoft Says 'Mum' to MEM, and Just Call It 'Intune'
Microsoft Endpoint Management (MEM) appears to be the first naming casualty of Microsoft Ignite this week, as Microsoft announced that the MEM brand is getting supplanted by Microsoft Intune.
The branding change can already be perceived at Microsoft endpoint management product landing page, which now bears the "Microsoft Intune" stamp. It further declared that "with the launch of our advanced capabilities, Microsoft Intune, previously part of Microsoft Endpoint Manager, is growing into a family of endpoint management products."
Microsoft's future endpoint management development efforts will focus on the cloud services side with Intune. Configuration Manager (which sometimes had been called "Microsoft Endpoint Manager Configuration Manager") will still exist, and its "Comanagement" capability that lets it integrate with Microsoft Intune will still be in place. However, Microsoft's overall endpoint management product branding and development efforts will get switched to the Intune name, going forward. The MEM name will disappear.
Here's how the announcement characterized those plans:
Today, we're announcing that Microsoft Intune will be the name of the growing product family for all things endpoint management at Microsoft…. The name Microsoft Endpoint Manager will no longer be used. Going forward, we'll refer to cloud management as Microsoft Intune and on-premises management as Microsoft Configuration Manager.
Intune originally started out as a service for Windows PC management. It later became known mostly as a mobile device management service. Microsoft also later added mobile application management capabilities to it.
Almost three years ago, Microsoft had initiated its MEM branding. It combined System Center Configuration Manager and Intune into one product offering.
Premium Add-Ons for Intune
The dropping of the MEM name is occurring at the same time that Microsoft has started offering "Premium" management add-ons to Microsoft Intune licensees. Microsoft refers to these add-ons as "advanced endpoint management solutions."
This change -- selling add-ons on top of the Intune licensing -- was first described by Microsoft back in April. Microsoft is planning to sell premium adds-ons both individually and in bundles, with the first bundled offering expected to appear in March of 2023.
Some individual Premium add-ons have already been released, such as a Remote Help Service add-on and an Android Open Source Project add-on.
The bundled Premium add-on offerings will be more cost-effective than buying the add-ons singly, Microsoft contended. A requirement to use the add-ons will be to have Microsoft 365 licenses that also include Intune.
Here's how it was explained in this Microsoft announcement:
We will offer this new cost-effective, premium plan to subscribers of Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 or any plan which today includes licenses for Microsoft Intune. The individual solutions will continue to be available as standalone add-ons, but the new plan will be available for less than the sum of all the add-ons; meaning you can do even more for less.
Here are the Premium add-ons for Intune that Microsoft has either already released, or is expecting to release early next year or in March:
- Remote Help (already commercially released back in April for Windows devices). It's an add-on for fixing problems on remote user Windows devices in "real time." A future release will add ServiceNow integration and also Android device support.
- Android Open Source Project (AOSP) device management (already commercially released back in June for RealWear devices). It's for "specialty devices" that don't conform to Google Mobile Services stipulations.
- Endpoint Privilege Management (currently in public preview). It lets IT pros automate Windows admin privileges to end users temporarily, such as letting them install an approved company app.
- Microsoft Tunnel for Mobile Application Management (available for Android and iOS devices in early 2023). It's a virtual private network solution that lets organizations tap bring-your-own-device scenarios, where "corporate data can still be protected without the need for end-users to give IT control over their personal device."
- Advanced Endpoint Analytics (release status unclear). It offers a dashboard view of endpoint health, with drill-down capabilities, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically detect "anomalies."
Microsoft also briefly described other Premium add-on advanced solutions that it's developing. An app packaging add-on is under development. A certificate management add-on is on the roadmap. An add-on to keep apps up to date is another product under development. The Mobile Application Management add-on will be getting the ability to support "multiple company, managed accounts on a single device."
Microsoft plans to alert IT pros to the coming Premium add-on capabilities for Intune via notices in the "Endpoint Manager admin center."
Microsoft is encouraging traditional Configuration Manager users that are still clinging to that approach to ease into cloud-based services via a "cloud attach" capability.
Cloud attach was described by Microsoft back in July as follows:
We often get asked by customers what is cloud attach and how is this different from the more familiar terms like co-management or tenant attach? In simple terms, cloud attach means enabling both co-management and tenant attach. But, it is so much more than just a feature. Cloud attach is the means for organizations using Configuration Manager to have even more flexibility in managing endpoints without having to choose between security, compliance and supporting new work realities.
The July announcement also suggested that cloud attach would enable "automated patching from the cloud using Microsoft Endpoint Manager."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.