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Configuring Microsoft Intune Endpoint Security Policies: Essential Guide

Remote work culture has enabled businesses to harness talent from all over the globe. However, concerns about endpoints being exploited are increasing among CTOs & CISOs. Intune endpoint security helps IT admins create policies for monitoring and securing network endpoints to improve security posture.

Modern-day businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with the exploitation of network endpoints as they can be easily targeted by cybercriminals. Such attacks can be used to expand lateral movements within a network, conduct data breaches and compromise data integrity. With security protocols such as Intune endpoint security, businesses can reduce or eliminate the risks of those cyberattacks. 

Recent forecasts have shown that the global endpoint security market is expected to cross $19 million dollars in revenue during the coming year. Although businesses are increasingly investing in such solutions, integrating one without adequate knowledge can hinder effective implementation. Security solutions implemented for endpoint protection are centred around monitoring network endpoints for malicious activity. 

An endpoint is a physical device that connects to a computer network for the transmission of information. As mentioned, these endpoints are a primary target for cybercriminals and becoming increasingly vulnerable to attacks due to the technological shift businesses experience. Security solutions pertaining to these devices can be installed regardless of the devices’ location. Businesses seeking endpoint security solutions have a number of options readily available in the market. 

However, using Microsoft Intune remains the most relied-upon choice for many worldwide. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we can help your organisation harness Microsoft Intune to monitor and control your business’s devices. 

What is  Microsoft Intune Endpoint Security?

The cultural shift to hybrid or remote workforces has led to different devices accessing organisational networks, applications, and resources. Such dynamics have created an ease of operation for employees, allowing them to work from where they desire. However, information technology (IT) and network security teams now face the challenge of managing secure access for different endpoints used for organisational resources. 

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based solution that allows businesses to seamlessly manage their network endpoints. It allows IT teams to simplify and increase the security of endpoints, including mobile devices, computers, and virtual assets. In addition to providing cross-platform management and analytics, Microsoft Intune comes with in-built endpoint security protocols. These Intune endpoint security protocols allow businesses to harness automatic threat detection and remediation to reduce endpoint vulnerabilities. 

Top Microsoft Intune Security Features 

Microsoft Intune is the most competent security solution for network endpoints, and that comes with a number of features, such as conditional access and device compliance. These features, when used in combination with each other, allow businesses to reduce or eliminate the endpoint vulnerabilities from being exploited. 

However, CTOs must thoroughly understand how various features of Microsoft Intune can help them configure and deploy security policies. Some of the top features of Intune endpoint security include:

Conditional Access 

Microsoft Intune can be integrated with other tools, such as the Azure Active Directory (AD), to enable a highly competent security feature called conditional access. When enabled and deployed, it allows businesses to assess a device’s compliance status prior to enforcing security policies. 

When using this feature, it’s important to understand that these features can be based on various factors that include the user’s device, location, application, or resource they are gaining access. Such a security protocol allows businesses to eliminate unauthorised or unrequired access to organisational resources and data. 

Device Compliance Policies 

These policies serve as an additional layer to the conditional access feature of Intune endpoint security. These device compliance policies can be used to define a set of rules and policies that remote user devices must be compliant with in order to gain access. These policies may vary between organisations. 

However, some common examples include operating systems or encryption requirements. In cases where a device is found to be non-compliant, the issue can be addressed via email notification. In addition, metrics such as remotely locking the device can also be implemented. Such protocols can be configured as security baseline requirements and be used with conditional access. 

Mobile Application Management (MAM) 

Organisations considering Intune endpoint security can also benefit from its MAM. It’s an essential feature that allows IT teams to ensure the protection of company data within an application. MAM enables them to deploy app protection policies resulting in localised app encryption. 

The added benefit of this feature is that it can be used with or without device enrollment. Businesses using the feature with device enrollment can use it as an additional layer. Whereas those without device enrollment can further strengthen their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) endpoints. 

Enrollment Restrictions 

In some cases, Intune licence holders can only enrol on a certain number of devices. This restriction feature allows IT teams to ensure that certain devices can not be integrated with an organisational network. These restriction protocols may include platform versions, devices from a specific manufacturer, or personal devices. 

This feature helps organisations ensure that employees’ device who are not in accordance with company policies cannot be connected to the organisation’s network. In addition to keeping the number of enrolled devices low, Intune endpoint security allows businesses to ensure that potential risks that arise from using devices from certain manufacturers are minimised. 

Update Deployments 

Using Microsoft Intune also allows businesses to deploy updated software packages to all managed devices. When deploying such updates, IT teams have the option of choosing whether to silently deploy the update or make it available for download and installation. It’s important to understand that the installed package is encrypted on the machine and uploaded to the cloud.

In addition, businesses can also utilise update rings allowing them to configure the time and approaches pertaining to the update deployment. Using update rings in combination with Intune allows them to ensure alignment between update strategy and business objective. These updates help organisations ensure each device is updated to the latest software and is free from the security that may arise from using outdated and exploitable versions. 

How Can Businesses Use Intune Endpoint Security?

Integrating Microsoft Intune for endpoint security can be quite challenging without adequate knowledge. Therefore, businesses must understand all the possible use cases pertaining to the utilisation of Intune for endpoint security. Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) must understand that the use of Intune is not just limited to security policies. It can be used to identify at-risk devices and remediate them. In addition, it can also help restore or configure these devices to a more compliant and secure status. 

However, IT security professionals must use the Endpoint security node to group available tools in Intune to secure devices effectively. Such integration would allow security baseline development, security policy configuration, status monitoring and more. Intune endpoint security capabilities allow organisations to configure policies for multiple devices, control and limit user access, and ensure device compliance with security policies. 

In addition, it can be integrated with other solutions and is a highly plausible tool used for configuring advanced threat protection policies. Using such integration allows businesses to deploy conditional access protocols limiting access to organisational applications and resources and ensuring device compliance.

What Are The Microsoft Intune Security Policies?

Organisations using Microsoft Intune to improve their security posture can configure various types of endpoint security policies. When configuring such policies, it’s important to understand that each Intune endpoint security policy focuses on a specific subset pertaining to the device settings. The type of security policies which can be configured using Microsoft Intune include: 

  1. Firewall – allows security teams to configure a device’s built-in firewall for devices operating on both macOS and Microsoft operating systems.
  2. Endpoint detection and response (EDR) – allows businesses to configure endpoint security policies by integrating the tool with Microsoft Defender, as it enables effective detection and response protocols. 
  3. Antivirus – enables IT teams to manage the antivirus settings of devices that are connected to the organisation’s network. 
  4. Account protection – allows businesses to protect the identity and accounts of their employees connected to their networks. 
  5. Attack surface and reduction – enables security teams to configure Intune endpoint security policies for reducing the attack surface. 
  6. Disk encryption – focuses on security settings pertaining to a device’s in-built encryption methods and eliminates the need for navigating unrelated settings.

Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager – Intune Successor 

Endpoint Manager is a tool that combines Intune with the System Center Configuration Manager and allows organisations to save the time and resources required to manage remote work environments. It combines mobile device management and MAM capabilities with other Microsoft products such as Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and more. 

Using the Endpoint Manager, CTOs can develop a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) strategy. Once the strategy has been developed and deployed, it allows businesses to ensure that users can be on board regardless of their hardware platform. 

In addition, it helps ensure that access control policies pertaining to which organisational applications and data can be accessed are applied to all users. However, prior to developing a UEM strategy, businesses must understand that such a policy must meet certain objectives. Some of the objectives include: 

  • A single console that can be used to configure, manage, and monitor mobile devices, personal computers, and internet of things (IoT) devices. 
  • The centralised deployment of data protection, device configuration, and usage policies. 
  • Centralised monitoring of multi-device users to ensure effective end-user support and workplace analytics. 
  • The ability to act as a central point where activities related to endpoint security can be orchestrated. 

IT admins and teams can use the Endpoint Manager for the deployment of the UEM strategy. Such deployments can allow network security teams to remotely provision, control, and secure all organisational and personal devices connected to the network. In addition, the Endpoint Manager can also be used to configure Intune for automatically deploying SharePoint slides

How To Create And Configure Intune Endpoint Security Policies? 

Gaining an in-depth understanding of how to configure Intune endpoint security policies allows organisations to improve security posture and ensure device compliance with company policies. However, prior to acquiring Microsoft Intune, CTOs can choose to use it on a trial basis to identify the organisational factors that must be changed for its effective use. 

In order to configure these security policies, businesses should use the Endpoint Manager. Using the tools allows network security teams to create, duplicate and edit endpoint security policies. In addition, it also allows them to resolve conflicts that arise due to non-adherence to security configurations. 

Creating A Policy

As mentioned, organisations can create various types of endpoint security policies, such as firewalls or disk encryption, using Intune. Therefore, IT admins must first define the type of policy they want to create. 

In addition, they must also define the platform and the profile for the policies. However, it’s important to note that these configurations may vary based on the policy type. Upon final configurations, IT admins can then review and deploy the policy to the managed devices. 

Editing Or Duplicating A Policy 

IT admins can also choose to duplicate an original policy and apply it to different groups of managed devices. This allows businesses to save time, resulting in improved and efficient endpoint security management. 

In addition, network security professionals can also edit existing policies. This allows them to change the scope and configurations for policies as dictated by businesses and threat environments or technological advancements. 

Managing Conflicts 

When configuring endpoint security policies, conflicts pertaining to device compatibility with configurations may arise. CTOs must understand that such conflicts arise because security policies can be managed by several different policy types or multiple instances of the same policy. IT admins can resolve such conflicts using other policy types, including device configuration policies and security baselines. However, they must consider that: 

  • Security baselines allow them to ensure that they define a non-default value for device settings to comply with the security configurations. 
  • Using other policy types allows them to set a value that is not configured by default, which then requires explicit settings configurations. 

Final Thoughts On Intune Endpoint Security

Concerns pertaining to the exploitation of network endpoints are rapidly increasing among modern-day businesses, as cybercriminals can easily target network endpoints. Such attempts to gain unauthorised access to an organisational network can lead to lateral movement within the network, ultimately resulting in data breaches. 

Businesses, therefore, are investing heavily in endpoint security solutions. Although several options are readily available in the market, Microsoft Intune remains highly preferred. Intune endpoint security allows businesses to monitor and secure network endpoints and deploy conditional access protocols. 

Get in touch with us today and learn more about how we can help you harness Microsoft Intune for endpoint security. 

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