Microsoft Introduces Intune Suite of Add-On Products
Microsoft on Wednesday announced the launch of a new product called "Microsoft Intune Suite," which is a bundle of "add-on" IT tool capabilities for use with the Microsoft Intune endpoint management solution.
Microsoft also announced a new Microsoft Intune Plan 2, which is a collection of add-ons that are said to enable "advanced endpoint management capabilities." Right now, Plan 2 just includes two add-ons, namely the "Tunnel for Mobile Application Management" add-on and the "Management of Specialty Devices" add-on. Plan 2, with those two add-ons, is described as itself being an "add-on to Microsoft Intune Plan 1."
Intune Plan 1 is just the old Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager plus Intune product bundle that's included in E3- and E5-type Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Organizations need Intune Plan 1 to use any of the new Intune add-ons.
The prices and nuances about which add-ons are included in which plans can be found at Microsoft's pricing page. Intune add-ons get sold separately or bundled.
Additionally, Microsoft announced the launch of "Invitation to Intune," a new program for commercial organizations with more than 5,000 users. This program offers support from Microsoft or its partners to help organizations switch from their current unified endpoint management products to Microsoft Intune. For organizations with less than 5,000 users, Microsoft may offer support through its FastTrack program.
Intune Add-On Release Status
Microsoft's Wednesday announcements were just describing the new Intune Suite and the new Plan 2 products, plus the new Invitation to Intune Program. Some of the individual Intune add-ons have not yet reached the "general availability" (GA) commercial-release stage, though.
Here's the release status for the new Intune add-ons, per various Wednesday Microsoft announcements:
- Tunnel for Mobile Application Management (Plan 2), a "lightweight VPN" solution for Android and iOS devices, is at the GA stage.
- Management of Specialty Devices (Plan 2) was introduced on Wednesday, but its release status is unclear. Microsoft expects to integrate Meta Quest virtual reality headsets with Intune sometime "later this March," which apparently is getting done using this add-on.
- Endpoint Privilege Management (add-on and suite addition), which lets IT departments elevate standard user privileges when needed with least-privilege access controls, is getting a public preview release this month, with GA expected in April.
- Advanced Endpoint Analytics (add-on and suite addition), which adds "anomaly detection, custom device scopes and enhanced device timeline" capabilities for identifying potential issues, was introduced, but its product launch status wasn't indicated.
- Remote Help (add-on and suite addition), a service tool for IT departments that lets them solve problems experienced by remote users of Windows devices, actually launched in "April of 2022," according to this announcement. Remote Help is getting a ServiceNow trouble-ticketing integration capability, which is available at the preview stage this month, and is expected to reach GA in "April 2023."
- An "advanced app management" capability will be "coming in May 2023" and "cloud certification management capabilities" will be "coming in the second half of 2023," according to Microsoft's pricing page description. These tools will be add-ons and suite additions.
Microsoft's many announcements about the new Microsoft Intune Suite sometimes referred to Intune being a new product. However, it just seems that Plan 2 and the Microsoft Intune Suite are new products.
The Microsoft Intune Suite contains all of the Intune add-ons in one bundle, priced at $10 per user per month. The suite also includes the Plan 2 add-ons.
Premium Add-On Shift for Intune
The Microsoft Intune Suite product was apparently first described in this Oct. 12 Microsoft announcement. Microsoft had hinted even earlier, back in April of 2022, that it was planning to institute "premium" add-on features to Microsoft Endpoint Manager (which includes the Microsoft Intune product). However, in an Oct. 2022 announcement, Microsoft subsequently made it clear that the Microsoft Endpoint Management brand was getting supplanted by the Intune brand, and so now these add-on releases have become Intune add-ons, it seems.
Microsoft's argued in its Wednesday announcements that it is helping organizations with their tool-sprawl problems by offering these bundled Intune Suite add-on tools. The idea is that IT departments have too many scattered tools to track and maintain.
However, many of the reader comments in Microsoft's Tech Community announcements complained about the extra costs of these add-ons. Moreover, this premium add-on switch means that Microsoft's top-of-the-line E5-type licensing now doesn't include all of the tools -- which is something that might be expected by organizations paying for Microsoft's top-tier products.
A Microsoft-published video demonstration of the new Intune add-on tools can be found in this Microsoft Tech Community post. Informational links about the new Intune add-ons can be found in this post.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.