"The new release of Windows Intune is very exciting for us, because until now Windows Intune has been a nice complimentary management platform for many of our clients PCs, and now we can actually replace some of our existing PC management tools and fully managed our clients systems with Windows Intune without a hitch," said Steve Hall, senior network engineer and CEO at District Computers, a Washington D.C.-based Microsoft channel partner.
The first release of Intune could only update software applications within the Microsoft Update Catalog. With the new release solution providers and IT managers can deploy any executable application, including new Microsoft applications like Office 2010, and software from third-party vendors such as Adobe Acrobat.
"We see this as a big benefit to users, as well as partners who do managed services," Heaton said.
The new release likewise extends its asset management capabilities beyond Microsoft software to third-party software. Heaton said that was a major request from partners.
Also new is a read-only administrator feature for when an IT employee needs to use Intune for reporting, but isn't given full access to the service's other capabilities. The new beta Intune also boasts enhanced anti-virus features and improvements to its user interface.
"One of the features that we are most excited about in the new release is the ability to push third-party applications and updates to PCs located virtually anywhere," said Chris Hertz, CEO of New Signature, a Microsoft partner also based in Washington D.C.
"This is a huge security win for our clients because as many as 69 percent of the vulnerabilities affecting typical end-point computers are found in these products," Hertz said."It is a huge win for our firm because it greatly reduces the amount of time and effort required to maintain end-point computer security. This means that we can devote this freed up time and resources towards value-add projects that align IT with business."
"Software deployment is huge, because we’ve had to use additional third-party tools to remotely deploy software until now. Not with the newer Windows Intune Beta release," said District Computers' Hall. He also praised the new release's license management and read-only administrator capabilities.