Microsoft has made mobile device management (MDM) capabilities available in its Office 365 cloud-based business services, enabling customers to control access to data across on mobile and tablet devices, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Available from today, the built-in MDM features have been rolled into Office 365 services and are included at no additional cost across all commercial offerings, including Business, Enterprise and Government plans.
First disclosed at Microsoft's TechEd Europe conference last year, the features are a subset of the capabilities offered in Microsoft's Intune cloud-based management service.
Microsoft said that it is starting the rollout for these capabilities today, and expects it to be completed worldwide in four to six weeks.
The new MDM capabilities enable organisations using Office 365 to set policies so that company emails and documents can be accessed only on smartphones and tablets that are managed by the organisation and are compliant with security criteria.
These could exclude devices having 'jailbreak' modifications applied that might compromise protection, for example.
Customers can also enforce security settings such as making sure users are protecting their devices with a password or Pin, according to Microsoft.
Office 365 also now supports bring your own device situations by enabling an administrator secretively to wipe company data from an employee's device while leaving their personal data intact.
"These new capabilities help you better manage and protect access to Office 365 data while enabling people to be mobile and productive from anywhere," said Microsoft technical product manager Shobhit Sahay on the Office 365 blog.
"We hope you will love these new capabilities and we look forward to providing more enhanced capabilities in Office 365."
Customers that need protection beyond that offered by the basic MDM services now included in Office 365 can subscribe to Intune for additional capabilities, including more extensive mobile device and application management extending to managing and updating Windows PCs.
Brad Anderson, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Enterprise Client & Mobility team, said that the new support will empower organisations to solve short-term IT challenges, while proactively planning and building for the future.
"With the functionality and familiarity of Office 365, end-users will become increasingly more productive, and with the IT tools of the Enterprise Mobility Suite, any organisation's infrastructure will become more reliable, more secure, and better equipped to deal with the increasingly challenging demands of the modern workforce," he said.
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