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Microsoft moves Intune to a monthly update schedule

Microsoft moves Intune to a monthly update schedule

The Intune administrative management service now includes greater support for non-Microsoft clients

To keep up with the ever-quickening pace of technological innovation, Microsoft has started updating its Intune IT management service on a monthly basis.

The first iteration of the Intune monthly updates includes greater support for Windows software running on third-party devices such as Android and Apple iOS devices. Additional security features have also been added for Windows 8.1 computers and phones.

Intune is Microsoft's cloud service to help smaller businesses with minimal IT staff more effectively manage their desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Intune offers services such as the ability to schedule and automate operating system updates, and enforce company policies on how devices can be used.

Intune, which is offered as a cloud service, will be updated for current users between Feb. 6 - 11, depending on their location. Microsoft last updated Intune in December.

With the update, administrators can set more restrictions on how Office mobile apps can be used on Android devices. For instance, they can restrict actions such as copying, cutting and pasting material between Office apps and other software on the device, which can help ensure sensitive organizational material doesn't get leaked. Intune will also allow administrators to manage employee use of the versions of Microsoft software running on Apple iPads and iPhones, such as OneNote, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

More work for these third-party devices has been added to the networking side. Administrators can now log Android and iOS devices onto wireless networks through the protocol typically used by those devices to manage Wi-Fi settings. iOS devices can also now be signed on to virtual private networks through the Cisco AnyConnect virtual private networks.

Intune extends support for Windows clients in a number of new ways. Administrators can require users of machines running Windows 8.1 x86 computers to use encryption, which can help an organization better secure its data. Administrators can also specify with greater granularity what sorts of updates can be installed automatically on Windows 8.1-based computers.

For Windows Phones, administrators can use Intune to set up a company portal that employees can use to browse and install apps for their devices.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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