Microsoft readies built-in, free mobile device management for Office 365 users

Microsoft is taking steps toward delivering on its cross-platform device, application and data management with new Office 365 capabilities.

Microsoft is building a subset of the mobile-device-management (MDM) features it provides with its Intune service into Office 365 for free.

Microsoft execs unveiled the addition of the MDM service for Office 365 at the kick-off keynote during Tech Ed Europe in Barcelona on October 28.

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By embedding MDM directly into Office 365, Microsoft will take antother step toward making good on its promise to manage not just devices, but also the apps and data on phones and tablets running Windows, iOS and Android. The coming capabilities will allow administrators to manage devices using policies and wipe corporate data when necessary, while still preserving personal data. The new MDM for Office 365 functionality will be available in the first quarter of 2015.

Also at Tech Ed Europe, officials were set to take the wraps off new updates coming to Intune, Microsoft's MDM service. The coming Intune updates will also offer users a way to manage their Office Mobile apps, as well as their line-of-business apps. The updates will enable more secure app viewing and control. These updates will be available "in the next few months," officials said.

With these updates, customer will be able to manage Office mobile apps, wrap management technology around their own line of business applications, enable secure mobile app viewing and better control the use of corporate resources with conditional access features. 

Microsoft officials shared  more Office 365 news at Tech Ed Europe this week. Microsoft execs said they are extending data-loss prvention (DLP) technology across Office 365 — specifically SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business "over the next few months." In 2015, Office apps will support DP notifications to help further secure data, officials said.

The company also is making new REST-based programming interfaces for mail, files, calendar and contacts to developers building Android, iOS, Windows or web apps. Officials also said they are making new mobile software development kits (SDKs) for native app development available for those who want to use Office 365 APIs to create apps for a variety of mobile platforms. A new iOS SDK for XCode is available immediately in preview form; Android and Visual Studio SDKs are generally available.

Over the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has been rolling out new Office 365 (and OneDrive and Outlook.com) application launchers, making it easier for users to find and access their Office apps. Third-party developers also can write apps that will use App Launcher so customers ccan see and use their apps right alongside the Microsoft Office ones.

Earlier this week, Microsoft officials announced that they were upping the OneDrive consumer and business storage limits to unlimited. Office 365 Personal, Home and Student will get the unlimited storage offer first, with other Office 365 plans to get it "in the coming months."

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