If you watch movies or advertisements where IT is involved, you can be sure that most of the time it works seamlessly. Computers communicate with each other with the greatest of ease. Messages, texts and emails appear exactly when they’re needed and everyone’s smartphone seems to be integrated with the company system so that communication continues, whether people are snowboarding, skydiving or simply chilling out in the lobby of a five-star hotel.

It’s all very James Bond and it’s all very unreal. IT in real life is never this efficient. Contrary to marketing lore and glossy ads, most of us don’t spend our time enjoying chats with colleagues in China while we skateboard in Canberra. Most offices are busy and our IT networks can get complex, not to mention messy, at times due to staff turnover, new technology, and the odd employee trying to hook up some device or software that doesn’t belong.

Even when you make use of cloud computing, the chances are that people happen to be working on very different systems and platforms; some will be trying to keep up on home systems or their mobiles, your intern may be using the 10-year old desktop machine that was left in the corner and designers are on state-of-the-art MacBook Pros. But as a business owner you want all of these systems to not only work together, but to work together in harmony.

If you or your IT manager doesn’t have a tool that allows central management of desktop machines, not to mention all the other devices on your system such as mobiles, tablets etc., then in theory, you need to manually access every machine on the system to install updates, patches or solve malware attack problems. It’s not really time or money well spent.

This is where Microsoft Intune can help out. Basically, this cloud-based service enables you to manage a huge range of devices, from PCs to mobile devices and business apps of all types, while ensuring your systems are secure.

How can Microsoft Intune help small or medium business?

Anyone overseeing a company’s IT systems knows that one of the biggest challenges is device management. The staff want and expect to be able to access information, emails and their desktops across a range of platforms instantaneously. Meanwhile, managers and business owners want to know that their systems are secure with firewalls and patches and they want to be able to track hardware and keep up to date with software inventory.

Intune helps facilitate this without needing to spend extra cash on hardware. What’s more, it can help manage various platforms, such as iOS, Mac OSx and Windows. With Intune you can take care of any updates and security patches, enjoy better asset information, encryption and app management, and remotely connect to PCs within your company, even if they are off site.

When your PCs and other devices come under the Intune umbrella, the IT manager can deploy and control any apps and software updates as needed, as well as control security features such as firewalls. And when a staff member is having issues, they can provide remote assistance.

It is also possible to secure any content view of docs and limit access to potentially dangerous websites with the Intune Managed browser. You’ll also be able to manage apps and data can be wiped from devices that are no longer used, belong to ex-staff members or have simply been lost.

In fact, it is these security features that make Intune most attractive to businesses. With the right settings, you can restrict minor actions, such as copy, cuts, and pastes or “save as” between devices and personal apps. The chances are that such things are not being used maliciously by staff, but can still put your business and its data at risk. Being able to centrally control such actions across all devices can bring you real peace of mind.

And if IT systems are at risk, an IT manager needs to be able to offer malware and virus protection. Intune gives central security via a malware protection engine, and you can proactively prevent problems on one or several machines and devices as they emerge. When patches and updates are needed, an alert is sent. This means it’s possible for an IT manager to fix any weak points before they become a problem or offer immediate support to staff when needed. And this covers all PCs and devices on your network.

Best of all, Intune is part of your Microsoft Office 365 package. If you’re already running this cloud-based platform, the mobile device management capabilities are built in. The standalone Intune offers more options but in Office 365 you can still manage iOS, Android and Windows phone devices as well as create security policies and limit access to data on email and documents.

Salim Sukari, Director of Empower IT Solutions says, “Intune can really help IT managers and business owners keep track of the devices being used at their companies and therefore gives them more control to ensure data security and system protection. Intune helps with general IT housekeeping and eliminates the need for some third party software, so it can be a useful and money saving option. It’s well worth talking to the experts though before deciding whether Intune is the system for you”.

If you want to know more about any of Microsoft’s offerings or any aspect of IT management, you should come and talk to the team here at Empower IT. We are happy to answer all of your questions.

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