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Intune; Application Packing And Distribution

Intune; Application Packing And Distribution

Device management in the workplace is a critical activity that needs to be handled with responsibility and oversight. When rolling out operating system software, applications, and security settings, organisations need to do so professionally and securely.

Intune is one of Microsoft’s core products for businesses, allowing for a safe, repeatable, and documented roll out and management of Windows installations and applications for workplace and BYOD devices. It helps organisations with device management, so that ad-hoc internal configurations that cause a security nightmare are a thing of the past. Last week we caught up with Intune: Security Policies and Security Hardening.

If you use Microsoft and/or Azure products in the workplace, then Intune is a must-have. Today’s article will cover application packing and distribution, a key Intune function. This is the way in which organisations use Intune to distribute different software applications to devices managed under the business.

Applications must first be added to Intune before you can distribute them to workplace devices. These can be Windows apps, store apps (such as iOS and Android apps), apps on the web, plus in-house built apps. Updates are automatic, except for in-house built apps. You can read more about the types of apps supported by Intune distribution here.

Apps can be handled using Mobile Device Management (fully-managed company owned devices) or Mobile Application Management (usually for BYODs), for management which extends to the application level rather than the device level.

How to distribute software to Windows PCs with Intune

Software requires installation, which means you need to start with a software application’s installation or setup file. This file is usually something such as setup.exe, or, if it is a Windows application installer, Application.msi. If other files are required for installation then make sure to put them all in one folder for easy packaging and access.

Msi installers are usually a fairly straightforward process for Intune, and the software will install silently in the background of the user’s account. If the installation file is an executable, you may need to add extra command line arguments (e.g. /silent) to turn off user interactions during installation. If the installer is not yet bundled as an executable, you will need to do this beforehand – turn it into a .exe.

Testing the distribution

Before deploying the software to user machines, we should test that the Intune distribution method is working as expected – by installing the software silently in the background. Here we can use PsExec. You can read the instructions for testing installation with PsExec here.

Deployment

You will need to create groups for the software that you wish to distribute – even if you only want to distribute the software to one device or user. The desktop apps are available under Intune ‘Apps’ once they are available to distribute to devices on the system. Selecting Properties, then Assignments, on the software to be deployed will show you which groups and devices the software is currently deployed on.

Mobile app distribution with Intune

It’s also possible to deploy apps to mobile devices with Intune, for both iOS and Android devices. It’s a similar deployment process to the above steps for Windows applications. Company Portal should be installed on all devices you wish to deploy to remotely with Intune.

Apps from the iOS store

Adding apps from the iOS store is as simple as searching for the app in Intune, then adding it, and completing the assignment.

Apps from the Android Play store

This requires searching for the app in the Play store, then copying the URL, and adding the app’s URL to Intune. From there, you can assign it to devices.

App management with Intune and A1 Technologies

If you are finding in-house mobile device management and mobile app management to be too complex or simply don’t have the resources to manage it adequately, that’s where we can step in. As a Microsoft partner, we help organisations with managed services including their Intune configurations, and remote device app packaging and distribution.

We can help your business IT infrastructure run more smoothly, securely, and with less hassle. Whether you’d like assistance with walking you through Intune’s functionality, or you would like us to take over management of these services completely, we’re here to help. Get in contact with us at A1 Technologies now.

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