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It's Like Microsoft Is Giving Windows Intune 2.0 Away

A cloud-based tool that lets you manage and maintain remote systems around the world is great

Microsoft has launched Windows Intune 2.0. The new version is a significant update to the cloud-based Windows Intune service that was initially released a mere seven months ago. Windows Intune delivers a variety of features and benefits that are much more valuable than the monthly Windows Intune subscription fee.

It seems like nobody sits still any more. More workers are telecommuting from home, or connecting from coffee shops. The Internet is eroding geographic hiring limitations and allowing companies to hire workers across the country and around the world.

It is a great and beautiful thing, but from a business perspective there still needs to be some way to manage and maintain those remote systems. Windows Intune provides a simple, cloud-based platform for monitoring and managing PCs no matter where they are.

Windows Intune 2.0 adds valuable tools like software distribution enabling any software--not just Microsoft software--to be deployed remotely. Users don't even have to be logged in as long as the PC is powered on and connected to the Internet.

You can learn more about Windows Intune 2.0 or sign up for a 30-day free trial of the service here. I want to focus on what you get for that $11 a month subscription fee, and why Windows Intune pays for itself and then some.

Windows 7

The Windows Intune subscription includes licensing rights to the latest version of the Windows operating system.

The cost of a Windows 7 license can vary widely depending on how many licenses you purchase and what sort of service agreement you subscribe to with Microsoft, but many small businesses buy hardware and software just like consumers do which means that Windows 7 Professional is a $250 or more investment. That means the first two years of monthly Windows Intune fees are essentially a breakeven, and by then Windows 8 will be out and you will be able to upgrade to the new operating system as a function of Windows Intune as well.

The cost of the Windows license is worth the monthly Windows Intune fee all by itself. There is one caveat--only Business, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise versions of the Windows operating system qualify for the license upgrade.

IT Department

Possibly the best kept secret of subscription-based cloud services like Windows Intune is the fact that you also get an entire IT department thrown in. If you take away the things that Windows Intune itself does, there is still an underlying infrastructure that has to be maintained.

If you wanted to do something similar on-site it would require having a server (or servers), and the network to connect to that server. You would have to have an IT department, or at least a dedicated IT admin to manage, protect, update, troubleshoot, and otherwise maintain the backend.

How many IT admins do you think you can buy for $11 a month?

Just a Dollar More

For a dollar more per user per month--making the monthly cost of Windows Intune $12--you can add in access to the tools of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). That extra dollar buys you:

  • Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM)
  • Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT)
  • Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)
  • Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)
  • Microsoft System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM)

You need to keep track of your PCs and make sure they are updated and protected. There are other tools available, and other ways to do it, but you should at least take a look at the features and capabilities of Windows Intune and do the math for your organization before choosing one.


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