Microsoft releases cloud-based mobile management suite

(Photo: Derrick Coetzee)Front lobby entrance of building 17, one of the largest buildings on the Main Campus portion of Microsoft's Redmond campus.

Microsoft has released a comprehensive Enterprise Mobility Suite for managing and securing mobile devices, mobile applications and user identity and access along with the much awaited Office for the iPad.

EMS works with Office on iPad and over time will work with Office apps on Android and other platforms. Microsoft didn't explain much about EMS capabilities but said more will be revealed at the Microsoft Build conference this week.

CEO Satya Nadella said EMS is Microsoft's answer to rising demands to orchestrate the increasingly popular BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) processes.

"IT has the toughest job to empower the individual and to protect the corporate assets," Nadella said.

Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, revealed some EMS details in a blog post, including the fact that licenses for three cloud services behind EMS will be per-user instead of per device.

"This means you not need to count the number of devices in use, or implement policies that would limit the types of devices that can be used," Anderson said.

EMS will use Azure Rights Management for data protection delivered from the cloud. The tool is already available for Office 365, but will now support on-premise Exchange, SharePoint and Windows Servers.

EMS has Windows Intune for Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management. Windows Intune will be upgraded in April to support more Android device management, including support for the Samsung Knox and the upcoming Windows Phone update.

The Azure Active Directory will provide single sign-in to Office 365 and many cloud services for better security. A Premium version will be available in April that will have new self-service password reset and security reporting features that block threats such as anomalous logins.

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