Microsoft launches a new remote help service for IT teams

Microsoft Endpoint Manager is the company’s platform for helping IT teams manage and secure large fleets of devices, something that’s become increasingly complicated since the start of the pandemic. As part of its larger “Future of Hybrid Work” event, the company also today launched some updates to Endpoint Manager that go beyond some of the traditional feature sets for similar services, with the promise to expand on these in the future.

The first new feature Microsoft is adding to the platform under the name of “Microsoft Advanced Management” is remote help. If you’ve ever used Teamviewer to help a family member fix a computer issue, you can basically think of it as that, but with all of the enterprise bells and whistles it takes to make sure a service like this is secure, the devices on both ends are configured correctly and everybody is who they say they are. And that’s why this is part of the overall Endpoint Manager story, because that’s what provides the access and idenity controls through a tight integration with Azure Active Directory and helps verify the users and devices. You wouldn’t just want your employees to be able to give control over their machines to any random social hacker, after all.

“For a long time, we’ve focused heavily on the traditional endpoint management space and we’ve had great success there building an endpoint management business,” said Steve Dispensa, Microsoft’s VP of Enterprise Mobility. “We’re widely acknowledged to be a leader in this space. We have the largest managed device population in the world. And that’s been good but the environment has evolved. We’ve seen massive structural changes with the pandemic and now with hybrid work. […] I’m excited about what we can do here to bring some adjacent management strategies and solutions to market.”

Dispensa described these new services as a “new suite of solutions,” with remote help for Windows as the first new product. “It’s a pretty straightforward value proposition in a world where folks are working from home, where hybrid is here to stay,” he said. “We want to help organizations respond fast to employee needs to provide a safe and secure way for orgs to provide that remote help and ultimately deliver a better user experience.”

For the most part, these are going to be premium add-ons to Microsoft’s endpoint management solution, not free updates to the existing service.