Cloud services promise easy setup and no infrastructure to manage. Even your grandmother setup her own Gmail account and iTunes subscription. How hard can it be to setup an Intune Subscription?
You could just go off and sign up for the free 30-day trial accept the defaults and try it out. What you miss out on with this approach is the total experience of an integrated solution and you may find some things more difficult than they need to be. Here’s my list of ten things to plan for before deploying Microsoft Intune. This list is not a recipe card, nor is it a complete deployment guide. There are many of those already available. This list helps you get your head around some of the items that you might otherwise be unprepared for.
- Do you already have Office 365 deployed or at least a demo tenant? Office 365 has some light mobile device management features that might be sufficient for some organizations. If not sufficient, the identity service required for Office 365 can be used for Intune. In fact, I suggest that for most organizations, they shouldn’t be thinking about Intune until they have deployed Office 365.
- How are you going to manage identity? You will need to use Azure Active Directory. Are you going to use a new AD instance or are you going to connect it to your corporate AD? It’s easiest if you already have Microsoft Azure AD Connect in place to synchronize your on premise AD with Azure for other services such as Office 365. What about your domain name? Are you going use the default DomanName.onmicrosoft.com domain or your own domain name. If you are going to use your own domain name you will need to update DNS records. Are you willing and able to do that? Again this is usually already taken care of if you have Office 365 in place.
- What policies are you going to be creating and applying to devices? Think about what you want to test from a use case scenario perspective. Don’t just turn every policy on or off.
- What devices are you going to be managing? Are they going to be corporate owned or personal (BYOD) or both? Do you have test devices available? It is not recommended to test of production devices because you might impact availability with poorly designed policy. If you are managing Windows Phones or iOS devices you will need certificates and a way to manage them (not required for android devices)
- Are you going to be integrating Intune with System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr)? If you do, understand that ConfigMgr will be controlling Intune. Decoupling Intune from ConfigMgr is non-trivial and has implications that you need to plan for if you are not going roll the evaluation tenant into your production environment. If you are using System Center Configuration Manager LTSB you cannot connect to Intune.
- Are you going to be connecting Intune to Exchange or Exchange Online? This will allow you to manage Exchange mailbox policies from Intune. Do you have the necessary information, accounts, and permissions?
- What enrollment methods do you want test? Which ones make the most sense for your organization? There are many options that may or may not suit your needs.
- Are you going to publish any applications to mobile devices? If so what applications and what installation methods? It is easiest to test with applications in the devices respective App Stores. Do you have the required external links to the apps in the app stores?
- Are you going to customize the Company Portal or just use the defaults? I recommend customizing the Company Portal. This can provide useful information to device users as well as providing a level of comfort about the new technology. While the customizations are limited at this time, one of the more useful (and recommended) changes you can make is providing a custom EULA if you like.
- What are your evaluation criteria? How do you know that the evaluation has completed successfully (or unsuccessfully)?
Remember that Microsoft Intune is receiving updates every month. Be sure to check out what’s new page to see what’s been added.
By Colin Smith
Colin Smith is the Manager of the Microsoft Solutions Practice at Cistel Technology Inc. , a Microsoft Gold Partner headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. Colin is a frequent author and presenter. He is also a dual Microsoft MVP. He is an MVP for Enterprise Mobility (formerly System Center Configuration Manager) who has been working with the product since SMS version 1.0. He is also a MVP for Windows and Devices for IT. He has over 20 years of experience deploying Microsoft-based solutions for the private and public sector with a focus on mobile, desktop, cloud and data center management.