Microsoft officially unveiled Windows Intune today. The cloud-based PC management and security service has been in public beta for a year, and effective today users can purchase the service or register for a 30-day free trial. Windows Intune provides a range of management and security tools--combined with upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise--making it a very compelling proposition.
Windows Intune seems like a virtual no-brainer for small and medium businesses looking for cost-effective solutions to simplify managing and protecting Windows PCs. When you look at all that Intune delivers, and the fact that Microsoft is providing and maintaining the back-end infrastructure, it is also worth considering for many larger organizations.
The Windows Intune service is a cloud-based service to manage updates, monitor Windows PCs, track hardware and software inventory, set security policies, provide remote assistance, and protect endpoints from malware--all from a Web-based console anywhere you can get an Internet connection.
Microsoft is offering Windows Intune at a cost of 11 dollars per seat per month. A company of 25 users would spend 275 dollars per month, while a company of 100 users would spend, well...1,100 dollars per month. I think you can figure out the math.
Spending 1,100 dollars per month may sound like more than a mere drop in the bucket for some organizations. Over the course of a year, that amounts to a little over 13,000 dollars. But, consider what is included for the money, and how much your organization is already spending, or would have to invest, to accomplish the same thing on premise.
According to a study of Windows Intune beta testers conducted by IDC, Windows Intune represents significant cost savings. The combination of simplified IT management, and end-user productivity improvements resulting from the switch to Windows 7 Enterprise amounts to a savings of $702 per PC per year from using Windows Intune--not bad for a service that only costs $132 per PC per year. Windows 7 licensing has a number of variables, but odds are fair that subscribing to Windows Intune would be cheaper than paying for Windows 7 Enterprise alone.
Microsoft is offering the cloud management and security features of Windows Intune for up to 25 PCs in a free 30-day evaluation. If you also want to try Windows 7 Enterprise at the same time to gauge the value of the whole package, you can download the 90-day trial version of the OS. What have you got to lose?
If you want to learn more about Windows Intune, you can join Microsoft Technical Fellow, Mark Russinovich for the Windows Intune Technology Tune-up on March 31. The event is a virtual roundtable with IT professionals and Windows Intune experts demonstrating what Intune is capable of and addressing common questions about the service.