For small businesses, remote management of computers can be a challenge. But Microsoft is debuting a new update to its Intune product specifically designed to help small and medium-sized businesses.
According to Computer World, Intune will provide administrators increased ability to control remote PCs. Not only will this allow for easier technical support of those PCs, it helps businesses run software inventories and deploy software over the network to a large number of computers at once. For small businesses with limited IT staff, this can be an invaluable tool.
It also allows management of machines located in remote locations, as Computer World points out. The upgrade, Microsoft Intune director Eric Maine told Computer World, helps businesses that “have a percentage of PCs that are hard to manage, because they don’t come into the network nearly as often as they need to.”
Released in March, Intune is designed to help IT administrators manage Windows 7 PCs. The software allows businesses to easily manage security and software installations over the network, saving time and resources. Better yet, Intune uses Microsoft’s Cloud, allowing businesses to incorporate the latest technology at a fraction of the normal cost to incorporate a Cloud-based enterprise service.
In addition to updating and deployment, Intune allows administrators to monitor all PCs within a domain, checking status of security updates and ensuring all software is up-to-date. Intune improves users’ experience, as well, allowing them to check for updates and even submit alerts to the help desk. Through the console, administrators can use the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, which has more than 14 components to help with recovery if a computer crashes. This prevents data loss, as well as protecting other computers on the network from infection. But the best part is, all of this can be done via Intune’s console, even if the affected computers are miles away.
One problem with Intune’s deployment has been the slow integration of Windows 7 into businesses. While home use of Windows 7 has gone as expected, as recently as June 2010, Microsoft claimed 74% of businesses were still using Windows XP. Microsoft is taking steps to change that, with steps such as no longer providing Internet Explorer versions compatible with the XP operating system, but with the economy making IT budgets tight, necessary upgrades to server software and old applications would require staff many companies do not have at this time. So companies hold off…for now.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is moving forward. As more companies migrate to the Windows 7 platform, software like Intune will continue to change the way companies do business. And, for small businesses, software like Intune will continue to save money by providing more efficient ways to conduct business, automating processes that will allow small businesses to do more with less.