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Windows Intune brings together Microsoft® cloud services for PC management and malware protection with a Windows 7 Enterprise upgrade subscription.

The Windows Intune cloud service helps you centrally manage and secure PCs through a simple web-based console—whether your IT staff or end users are in the main office, at a branch office, or on the road. Windows Intune helps you protect, update, monitor, configure, inventory, and troubleshoot the PCs in your environment.

Key Benefits

Help manage and secure PCs anywhere.

  • Track hardware and software inventory. Track hardware and software assets used in your business to efficiently manage your assets, licenses, and compliance.

  • Manage updates. Centrally manage the deployment of the Microsoft updates and service packs that you select to all your PCs from the Windows Intune console—freeing up your IT staff from routine management tasks.

  • Protect PCs from malware.  Help safeguard your PCs from the latest threats with centralized protection built on the award-winning Microsoft Malware Protection Engine and using the same trusted technologies as Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Security Essentials.

  • Proactively monitor PCs. Receive alerts on updates and threats so that you can proactively identify and resolve problems with your PCs—before they impact users and your business.

  • Provide remote assistance. Resolve PC issues, regardless of where you or your users are located, with remote assistance.

  • Set security policies. Centrally manage update, firewall, and malware protection settings across all of your PCs, even on remote machines outside the corporate network.

The best Windows experience.

  • Stay current with Windows 7 Enterprise. Upgrade your PCs to Windows 7 Enterprise, providing users with an improved and intuitive user interface, advanced search capabilities, and BitLocker drive encryption to help protect confidential data.

  • Standardize on the Windows you want. Get the flexibility to standardize your PC environment on a single Windows platform—Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows Vista, or even Windows XP—and automatically get the rights to future versions of Windows, so you never have to worry about purchasing upgrade licenses. 

Capabilities

The feature set of this first release of Windows Intune will bring the most value to businesses with basic needs that don’t have an existing management solution in place.

Tracking Hardware and Software Inventory

In order to use the service, you just need an Internet connection and the Windows Intune agent installed on each PC you wish to manage. This Windows Intune agent on each PC communicates back to the Windows Intune administration console so you can efficiently inventory software and hardware assets of your organization through the web-based console. See Figure A.

In just a few simple steps, you can create reports to identify installed software applications and hardware inventory to help maintain compliance, understand current needs, forecast future IT spending, and save on the cost of maintaining extra licenses you don’t need. This data can also be exported into other reporting tools, such as Microsoft Office Excel, for further analysis so you can view the information in the way that’s most helpful for you.

Advanced software inventory scanning can also help you find unapproved applications that may be unlicensed or causing compatibility issues. Data can be gathered on all software assets in a single query—it takes just seconds per system and doesn’t interrupt work.

Figure A: Track software assets on all of your managed PCs to efficiently manage your assets, licenses, and compliance.

Managing Licenses

Windows Intune can also help you manage your Microsoft license agreements. You simply enter your company’s Microsoft Software Volume License agreement information and Windows Intune will synchronize with the Microsoft Volume License Service (MVLS) to determine the license entitlement that corresponds to the agreements. See Figure B.

After license agreements are entered into Windows Intune, you can compare the purchase information from your agreement to Microsoft software actually discovered on your PCs. You can then create license reports that show installation counts and license counts for Microsoft software titles. You can generate license reports to help you assess your complete license position for Microsoft-licensed software titles. These reports are for your use only; Microsoft cannot access or view your license reports.

Figure B: Add your license agreements by entering agreement number pairs manually.

Pricing and Licensing

Windows Intune will be sold like other cloud services from Microsoft—through Microsoft partners and Microsoft Online Services.

Windows Intune will cost US$11 per PC per month.  Windows Intune is a device license and you need to purchase one license for each PC that you wish to manage. A single license includes both the cloud service and Windows upgrade license. 

General availability of Windows Intune is scheduled for 2011.