This week at the CeBIT technology fair in Hannover, Germany; Microsoft was showing off Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC monitoring tool that lets IT pros monitor the health of all the Window PCs in their charge from a simple Web-based interface. What’s interesting about it from a BSM standpoint, is that it brings monitoring of this sort into the mainstream.
The system has a series of tools to enable administrators to see problems at glance, whether it’s a malware infestation or a PC that needs a patch. The administrator can troubleshoot problems by drilling down to the PC in question and going so far as seeing all the software installed, whether it’s from Microsoft or another vendor.
The system uses the same anti-virus engine found in Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-virus program available from Microsoft for consumers.
If you’re an administrator, once you see a problem, you can fix it on a single machine, a group of machines (which you can define by type, department or any organization you wish). You can even apply a patch to a test bed if you have defined one to test it before deploying.
Because it’s cloud-based, users don’t need to be attached to the network to receive a patch or remove a virus. If your CEO runs into a problem on the road, you can fix it from the Console and any patches or fixes are downloaded to the monitored machine.
While Microsoft hasn’t developed a mobile application to work in conjunction with Intune, you can configure it to receive an email whenever a crisis happens, and you can define what constitutes a crisis, so that you don’t receive email for every little problem reported by the system.
From the email notification, you can view the console in your mobile phone’s browser.
The product will be available starting on March 23rd and cost $11 per PC per month with volume discounts, depending on the number of PCs you are monitoring.
While this tool doesn’t have the sophistication of a full-scale Business Service Management console, it shows that there is a desire for this type of monitoring on a broad level, and it puts monitoring within reach of even small businesses (although Microsoft doesn’t see this as being limited to the SMB market by any means).