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Microsoft Endpoint Manager gets better Mac, iPad management

Microsoft Endpoint Manager will eventually have new tools for securing and managing Macs, iPads and virtual endpoints. A more secure Edge browser is also on tap.

Microsoft has built into Endpoint Manager more options for managing macOS devices and iPads, a boon to IT professionals responsible for securing work environments with Apple devices running alongside Windows and Android hardware.

Microsoft announced numerous other improvements to the management product during its Ignite virtual event on Tuesday. Besides better macOS and iPad support, Microsoft Endpoint Manager now includes a remote-access connection feature for mobile devices, management of virtual endpoints and new controls for the company's Edge browser. All but the virtual endpoint and iPad features are in public preview without a specific release date.

The changes deliver a more capable Endpoint Manager, industry observers said. As a result, IT professionals will use fewer additional management products, which will reduce the cost of getting their jobs done.

"[Companies] need to manage all devices, regardless of origin and operating system," said Constellation Research analyst Liz Miller. "[These improvements are] a recognition that, for Microsoft's customers, far too often this had to be done across different systems and tools, multiple dashboards and far too many panes."

New macOS, iPad management options

The new macOS features include using scripts to deploy custom applications and perform troubleshooting and specific automated tasks.

Another change lets workers use a single sign-on to access applications, lessening the need to remember multiple usernames and passwords.

On iPads, Microsoft Endpoint Manager can keep personal and company data separate by letting IT administrators partition each tablet. With the change, available now, users will log into their Azure Active Directory work accounts to access corporate data.

Other improvements

Microsoft has integrated into Endpoint Manager a company-developed remote-access tool called Tunnel. The software lets IT professionals ensure workers' iOS and Android devices comply with corporate policies before allowing them to connect to the corporate network.

The new virtual endpoint support in Microsoft Endpoint Manager lets administrators view and manage virtual desktops through the same console they use to manage physical PCs. This feature is not available yet, but Microsoft expects a public preview before the end of the year.

Microsoft has built into the Edge browser security controls for managing web applications. The change prevents employees from downloading data from the applications when accessing them from personal devices.

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