Microsoft Office 365 MDM: Hits And Misses

Microsoft is offering free mobile device management (MDM) features for all commercial users of its Office 365 cloud-based services. Here we break down what it can and can't do for your organization.
Included: Windows Phone, iOS, Android Support
Missing: PC, Mac, Linux Support
Included: Authorized Access
Missing: Only Works On Office 365 Apps
Included: Forced Authentication
Missing: Push Certificates, Applications
Included: Mobile OS Jailbreak Detection
Missing: WiFi And VPN Profile Management
Included: Office 365 Data Wipe
Missing: Bulk Enrollment

Are the new mobile device management (MDM) features included free with Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 sufficient enough for your organization? The answer depends on the number and variety of mobile devices you need to manage, the size of your organization, and the primary applications you're running.

Microsoft announced last month that all Office 365 commercial plans, including Enterprise, Business, Education, and Government, will get built-in MDM features. This is a potential game-changer for Microsoft, because it could provide a smooth transition for customers to step up to buy its cloud-based Intune MDM offerings, eventually.

In addition, there is a wide range of third-party MDM solutions available, some of which have been on the market for nearly a decade. There are also several decent "freemium" MDM options available that may be especially attractive to small and medium-sized businesses and emerging enterprises. For example, wireless network provider Meraki offers a feature-rich cloud-based MDM solution for free, provided you are using Meraki wireless access points for your network.

However, some IT organizations may find that the free Office 365 MDM features are exactly what they need.

On the following pages, we'll explore the primary features that are included in the free version of the Office 365 MDM solution -- and discuss which features it's missing. From there, you should have a clear picture of whether or not the new freemium MDM service is right for your organization.

After you read through the following pages, tell us whether you think that Microsoft's two-tier MDM strategy -- giving you a free sample in hopes of upselling you to the Intune MDM -- will be a big hit. Or are the Office 365 MDM features missing so many key elements that SMBs and emerging companies will have look elsewhere. We want to hear all about it in the comments section below.

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