For a small company, running and maintaning your own Microsoft Small Business Server is a chore. So we have moved a client to a Hosted Exchange solution, so we don’t have to worry about email hosting, maintenance, security and archiving. But what about PC management? What about remote users? Microsoft now has a solution called Windows Intune.
Windows Intune delivers cloud-based PC management and security capabilities using a Web-based console so that both your users and IT staff can operate from virtually anywhere.
We are currently beta testing the free 25 seat account and so far we are impressed. You get a system overview of all your PCs. No need to review each PC. You get alerts by email or you can regularly review the System Overview page. You have an inventory of all your computers. I do wish they can display system information on each PC. You get a list of Windows updates that you can approve manually or automatically based on update classification and software category. You get a list of all malware found and cleaned. Windows Intune comes with Windows Intune Malware Protection, which looks very much like Microsoft Security Essentials. You get a list of all software installed on each machine. You can create policies that configure Windows Update, Firewall and Intune. I do wish Microsoft can add some kind of hosted Active Directory so we can completely remove our Small Business Server.
Once Windows Intune goes out of beta, the cost will be $11 per PC per month.