The lines between managing mobile and managing desktop have become increasingly blurred. What was known as Mobile Device Management (MDM) evolved into Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM), and now morphed further into what is now called Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). This represents a shift away from mobility as a unique and distinctly separate part of the core IT function. Remote access, which is a subject I consider myself an expert in, has grown to be something where the endpoint is almost agnostic. Modern solutions simply must support everything from Windows and MacOS to iOS and Android.
To help organizations handle this change, the UEM vendors are scrambling to take the same approach. Microsoft’s Intune and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) were last year combined to instead become Endpoint Manager; a move designed to simplify and streamline the process of managing corporate devices for IT leaders. If your organization has been using some or all of Endpoint Manager’s features, you might have noticed remote access as an area you’ve encountered challenges.
I recently wrote about an announcement regarding NetMotion and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This is where the rubber really meets the road, and here’s why. The UEM market has gone through a fundamental evolution over the past few years, with the best products on the market today arguably being those from VMware, MobileIron and possibly SOTI. These products all have the ability to help enroll or ‘quarantine’ devices so that they can’t automatically connect to an email server or take other actions without authentication, and crucially also include native VPN/remote access functionality.
How does Intune and Endpoint Manager compare?
Intune – a product name I use broadly interchangeably with Endpoint Manager, as I hear both terms continue to be frequently used – has been making steady inroads into this market for several years now. It’s certainly a competitive product but there are still a small handful of instances in which the functionality is less complete than others. That’s a shame, because if a company wants to standardize to a popular Microsoft software stack like Office 365 or SharePoint, then it is often getting Endpoint Manager included in that bundle (depending on the license type). Yet without the features offered by some of its competitors, Microsoft has been giving customers a tough pill to swallow – take Intune and lose functionality or pay extra.
From Microsoft’s perspective, the VPN component was obviously a gap that needed to be filled. So, it makes perfect sense that they recently chose to partner with NetMotion. In a recent update, it notified Endpoint Manager customers with on-premise VPN requirements that they should look to NetMotion as its recommended solution, which has been designed to work alongside Intune deployments.
It bolstered this relationship by welcoming the company into its MISA program around the same time.
A happy ending
As someone who has worked in this industry for a long time, I can’t stress what good news this is for everyone involved. I know that many companies out there had been evaluating or even trying to implement Intune but were unable to truly embrace it due to its lack of remote access functionality. Now that Microsoft has put a stake in the ground by recommending solutions that integrate seamlessly with its platforms, it’s finally in a position to help customers make more educated decisions. NetMotion stands out as a truly mobile-first remote access solution and I’m pleased to see Microsoft take a more sensible approach than pointing customers towards Always On VPN or DirectAccess instead.
The bottom line is, if you’re an Intune customer (or thinking about using Intune/Endpoint Manager), and you have on-premises resources that need to be managed, I highly recommend that you take a look at Microsoft and NetMotion in tandem.
Want to know more?
I have written about NetMotion several times before, which you can learn about here: