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Is Intune the SCCM Replacement?


By Megan Anderson Posted January 4, 2020

In the wake of the migration away from on-prem infrastructure, Microsoft® is pushing to make their products more cloud-forward. Among these products is Microsoft’s mobile device/application management (MDM/MAM) solution, Intune®. They claim this product allows organizations to operate entirely in the cloud, but there are limitations.

As of now, Intune does not provide the same management capabilities as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). Yet, some organizations are looking to replace SCCM in favor of Intune’s simplified, cloud-based architecture. It may be possible to use Intune instead of SCCM for certain organizations, but can Intune really replace SCCM?

SCCM vs Intune: Features and Capabilities

Intune and SCCM are closely related. Many organizations use SCCM with Intune as a complementary service, but those with lighter IT resource management needs may only use Intune. The following comparison outlines their differences. 

SCCM

SCCM, formerly called SMS, is Microsoft’s on-prem system management solution. It’s generally paired with Active Directory® and used to manage fleets of on-prem Windows® machines. Over time, SCCM’s capabilities have expanded to include mobile devices and non-Windows OSs.

With SCCM, admins can manage the deployment, configuration, and level of security enforced over an enterprise’s devices. SCCM also allows admins to protect endpoints by managing the Windows Defender® suite (antivirus and firewall functionality mainly). Other features include:

  • Resource access management
  • Compliance settings
  • OS deployment
  • Software update management
  • Software deployment
  • Legacy support

On its own, SCCM works best for entirely on-prem infrastructures. Admins should note, though, that implementing, configuring, and maintaining SCCM is a complex process. Without the proper skills or experience, SCCM can be more trouble to work with than its potentially worth.

Intune

Intune is among one of the many tools that integrate with SCCM to make it cloud-enabled.  Microsoft describes Intune as an MDM/MAM solution that integrates with Office 365®. Admins can use it to enforce compliance on devices and set conditional access on Office 365 applications and resources. It’s usually used in tandem with Azure® Active Directory, as outlined by Microsoft here.

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