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Group policies, meet EMM: New and old Windows 10 management unite

Galen Gruman | Oct. 12, 2016
MobileIron Bridge lets IT apply familiar group policy objects to Windows 10 PCs via enterprise mobile management, filling a big gap in Win10's new APIs

MobileIron Bridge also lets IT install .exe apps onto Windows 10 PCs; Microsoft's EMM APIs support installation only of .msi and .appx software, which means most legacy apps aren't supported for remote, policy-based installation. MobileIron comes with a graphical interface to install such .exe apps, but it also can install other binaries using a command-line interface, again using scripts as it does for GPO deployment.

mobileiron bridge app install
MobileIron Bridge can install legacy .exe apps onto Windows 10 PCs via EMM policies; example apps are highlighted here.

Ojas Rege, MobileIron's chief strategy officer, notes that when iPhones entered the enterprise in the late 2000s, IT couldn't reuse any of the many policies they had painstakingly set up in BlackBerry Enterprise Service for their BlackBerrys. Thus, they had to start from scratch. MobileIron Bridge's GPO support gives an IT an easier path to transition Windows 10 PCs from traditional management approaches to the EMM one used on other devices, he says.

However, Rege suggests that IT shops not deploy all their existing GPOs as is on Windows 10 PCs; they should use the EMM transition to evaluate what policies they still really need -- BlackBerry shops soon realized they didn't need all 450 BES policies, for example -- and deploy those in a staged approach. "It should be done with a change-management process," he says.

MobileIron Bridge will support Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise Editions, though some supported Windows 10 capabilities such as kiosk mode require the Enterprise Edition. Licenses will cost $3 per PC. It's now in prerelease at some customers, and the company hopes to make it generally available by January 2017.

 

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