URLs, Glorious URLs!

**DISCLOSURE: While I am contracted to Microsoft Corporation, I am not an employee. The articles that I write are not meant to represent the company, nor are they meant to represent me as an employee or spokesman for the company. As has always been the case, all articles on this website represent me and nobody else.

imageWelcome to Microsoft Intune. Over the last several years, Intune has moved from a standalone offering (based on Silverlight) to a component of Azure, and eventually (in 2020) onto its own portal… at https://endpoint.microsoft.com. Intune is a completely separate component from Azure now, and please do not pay any attention to the fact that the icon in your browser tab is identical to the Azure tab icon.

IntuneIntune is a component of Microsoft Endpoint Manager, which comprises this (the cloud-based cloud management solution) and the on-premises management solution (Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager). MECM, formerly SCCM (and before that formerly SMS) requires significant on-premises infrastructure, while Intune (sometimes just called Microsoft Endpoint Manager) requires no on-premises services whatsoever.

It would be far too simple to say that all that is included in Intune exists within that one URL… fortunately, I am here to give you a guided tour of the external hooks that make up the entire Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security (EM+S) offering.

imageUser Management: Yes, you can do a lot of your user management from within the MEM Admin Center. However, the Users blade in Intune is really a hook into the Azure Active Directory portal (https://portal.azure.com). Azure Active Directory is real directory for Intune (and Microsoft 365) users and groups, and by navigating to AAD in that site you will have more functionality that you will from within the MEM portal.

Microsoft Defender Security Center: As of this writing, the Defender Security is at https://securitycenter.windows.com. It is getting ready to move to https://security.microsoft.com/ (starting July 6, 2021). So within a few weeks, that will be the home of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

Microsoft 365 Defender: It is easy to get lost in the myriad offerings that fall under the Microsoft Defender family. Over the years, Microsoft has brought most of the security-focused products under that family. No, it will not be all of them… there are still some security offerings that are not branded Defender… as of this writing. Stay tuned though… things change around a lot. With that said, https://security.microsoft.com/ is where many of these offerings will be managed from.

Microsoft 365 Compliance: I always tell my customers and students that non-compliance is a good way to become non-employed. Depending on the industry that you are in, the consequences of not complying with your governing body can range from fines to loss of license to jail time. Information protection, information governance, Data loss prevention, and records management are all key aspects of compliance.

Microsoft Defender for Identity: Remember when I said just a few seconds ago that all aspects of security was managed under Microsoft Defender? Well yes… but not all aspects of same are managed under the Microsoft 365 Defender portal. Defender for Identity is managed under https://portal.atp.azure.com.

Security & Compliance: So let me get this straight… we have a security center; we have a compliance center; why do we then have a Security & Compliance Center? This portal (at https://protection.office.com) is actually a data compliance center, and lets you set your tenant against any of myriad compliance bodies… Whether that is GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation for the European Union), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for the US), or any other compliance organizations, it’s in here. Notice though one difference in the link… it is to Office.com, not Microsoft.com. Yes, Microsoft is consolidating all of these offerings under Microsoft 365… but it will take some time, and in the meantime the S&CC is about data compliance, and extends to OneDrive for Business, SharePoint for Business, and Microsoft Teams.

But What Else: Microsoft’s cloud management offering is  huge… and you can use as much or as little of it as you need. Start small, expand out. When you click on an option in Microsoft Endpoint Manager pay attention to when it opens a new tab for you, and what URL it opens up. Make a note of it and do not settle for only what you were looking for in that link; make the time (now or later) to explore what options you might find in those different portals. It is a great way to expand your knowledge… and thus your value to your organization.

Have at it!


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