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New Updates to Intune for Education Simplifies Delegation, Adds Windows Controls, and Improves Insights

First published on CloudBlogs on Jan 22, 2018
Over the last 20+ years, I’ve met with hundreds of schools and school districts around the world and I am always amazed at how hard these IT administrators work to enable their students to learn.  My brother-in-law is an IT admin for a public school district, and on countless occasions he has given me a reality check (in that special way that extended family always does :) ) about the challenges faced in EDU environments – especially the size of the budgets they are usually working with. Overall, I don’t think I have ever met with a school/district that had the type of funding available to most Enterprise IT organizations. :) Helping to solve this problem has always been a priority for us.  When I look at the telemetry coming from the >100M devices being managed by ConfigMgr, more than 10% of the devices are in EDU organizations.  In other words, the solutions we’ve built are heavily used in schools/districts.  However, as modernization tools become more widespread and accessible, education organizations (just like Enterprises) want to make that move to the cloud and simplify how they operate infrastructure and manage devices. This is the reason I was so excited when we launched Intune for Education last year. Intune for EDU was built to provide a simpler way for anyone to set up and manage Windows 10 devices – even if the people responsible for education IT were part-time or non-technical. Intune and the Intune for EDU console experience enables schools/districts to manage their PCs and mobile devices without having to deploy and manage any infrastructure. The Intune for EDU admin experience has been custom built and refined for use in EDU.  It features a familiar lexicon (classes, teachers, students, etc.), and it makes the most commonly used capabilities easily accessible.  All of this is delivered in a simple user experience. Admins can now provision new PCs, deploy apps and settings to users, and manage shared devices in just a few steps. Since the launch, we have seen customers of all sizes and from all regions embracing this functionality.  Users include an online alternative school ( GOAL Academy ), to a small private school in Brazil ( Escola Boque ), to an entire school district ( Calvert County School District ).  The simplicity of the new, customized management experience, paired with the flexibility of the full Intune experience , provides a modern education environment for both staff and students. Our goal with Intune for Education is simple: Empower IT in schools to take an active role and “conduct” what happens in the classroom by providing teachers the technology they need to create the “music of learning” with students. We’ve listened to IT explain what it means to empower them to conduct learning, and their ongoing needs are pretty straightforward:  They need better support for troubleshooting with the Windows 10 devices managed by Intune for EDU, and they need easier scaling device management for districts or device deployments that are really big and/or widely dispersed. Today, at the Bett Show , we are excited to announce three new capabilities to address these requests which will roll out over the next few months:
  1. Simplified delegation to additional administrators, g. from a district IT to a school IT level.
  2. Configure new settings with Windows 10 ( g. WiFi profiles, Windows Automatic Redeployment and Power Settings).
  3. Insights on devices and users being managed ( g. deployment status, audit logs, Windows Defender reports) to ensure IT visibility before technical issues begin to impact learning.

Simplified Delegation of Authority

IT admins at a district level often need to delegate administrative permissions and management authority to school-level administrators so that school-specific devices can be managed.  To support this, we’ve added a new role in Intune for EDU called “School Administrator . This feature makes this kind of delegation really simple. Here’s an example of how this will work: The Pineview School District administrator may want someone at Contoso High School to be able to manage just their specific school’s devices and users.  To do this, the district admin creates a group of “Pineview Admins” and grants them permission to the “Contoso High School” group.  This allows them to manage the apps and settings on their school’s devices, as well as access by students/teachers. New delegated administration experience for school administrators

New configurable Windows controls

As Windows 10 has matured as a platform for learning, so has Intune for EDU as a way to manage the devices running Windows 10. Because the controls in Windows are constantly being updated and enriched, we are updating the Intune for EDU console to enable the new Windows 10 controls to be centrally configured, e.g. the WiFi profiles, power settings, and automatic redeployment. This is a huge time savings and productivity boost for these IT teams. Configure WiFi profile – a new setting in Intune for Education As Yusuf mentioned in his blog post today , we are currently rolling out affordable new Windows 10 devices and experiences to unlock “limitless learning for students of all abilities.”

Get insights on users & devices being managed, troubleshoot issues

Since the launch last year, we’ve heard a lot of feedback from customers about the need for more IT visibility and insights so that IT teams can better understand their deployment and troubleshooting needs with Intune for Education. At a basic level, administrators want to be sure that everything is working as expected so that the in-classroom experience is focused on learning. The basic question we hear from these admins is: “When student ‘X’ signed in to device ‘Y’, what should have been applied and what was actually applied?” To help resolve this question, we have added a couple key features:
  • Search: This allows an admin to search for a specific user/device and view a user/device’s details page.
  • User & device details pages: Once you’ve found the user/device, you can see which settings and apps should be applied plus the deployment status for a user/device.
Also, as part of standard troubleshooting, administrators want to be able to be able to track changes (possibly by other admins) so that they can quickly understand drift or configuration changes and act quickly to address these changes. To do this, we now have audit logs for apps/settings changes on a group . This allows an admin to see which changes were made, by whom and when. Device security is of utmost importance to education IT admins who have the responsibility to keep their students and teachers safe in a computing environment. Customers have told us they liked the protection of Windows Defender. Intune for Education now includes information on Windows Defender status , like vulnerabilities detected and scan status. Windows Defender status report on devices We recognize that many customers are just beginning their journey from on-prem management tools like System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) to a modern cloud-based model. To aid with this important transition, we have made a broad set of company-wide investments in co-management to bridge the gap between on-prem environments to modern cloud-based Intune management. This transition will be especially important for our education customers who, cumulatively, currently manage millions of devices with ConfigMgr. IT admins currently managing a school (or even an entire district of devices) can get started today with a free 90-trial of Intune for Education (which also includes full Intune) via the Intune for Education page . You can also purchase Intune for Education with Microsoft’s comprehensive education solution along with Windows devices. Learn more on this new Microsoft Education page . Once you have Intune for Education, check the links below to get started: If you’re not at Bett this week and would like to learn more about the other exciting updates coming to Microsoft Education, check out our summary of today’s big news here !