Intune policy sets

The modern way to manage and configured devices in the Microsoft Cloud is to use Intune to handle device enrolment and configuration. This can become complex quickly when you at look configuring across the different operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, MacOS, etc) and the different policies (endpoint, compliance, restrictions, etc) because there are so many possible variations. If you then layer on a variety of users and their requirements, being consistent across the organisation can be a challenge.

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Luckily, Intune now gives us something called Policy Sets which you can find in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center as shown above.

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As the opening screen, shown above, notes – Policy sets are basically a way to group a set of individual policy configurations together and have them applied as a group. Handy eh?

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Basically, you follow through the wizard and select the policies you wish to group together and then users you wish that to apply to. You save that as an individual Policy set, of which you can create as many different ones as you like.

Once you create the policy it will be applied exactly the same as if you did each policy individually, but now you can do all that together via a single setting! You can go back in at anytime and edit the Policy sets you created.

Device manager Policy Sets allow you to easily group a variety of individual Intune policies together and apply them together to a group of users quickly and easily. This should save you lots of time over creating an individual enrolment policy and applying, then an individual compliance policy and applying, then an individual endpoint protection policy individually and so on.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 211

Where’s Brenton? Share your thoughts here – http://bit.ly/whereisbj

Microsoft has rolled back it’s recent planned partner changes. we have some new Intune security baseline policies to try (and troubleshoot) and Teams leads Slack in user numbers. I speak with Marc Kean to get the low down on what Azure storage is all about. All this and a lot more on this episode.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2019

Take a listen and let us know what you think – feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-211-azure-storage/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@marckean

@directorcia

Updates to partner program (again)

Microsoft Intune announces security baselines

Exchange Online PowerShell WinRM issue

What is Azure Lighthouse?

Without-enrollment and Outlook for iOS and Android

Teams reaches 13 million active users

Planner and To-Do integration

New PowerApps and Flow licensing

Azure storage

Azure File Sync

Exchange Online PowerShell WinRM issue

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I went into my PowerShell ISE today, as I always do, and tried to connect to Exchange Online. However, as you can see from the above error message:

Connecting to remote server outlook.office365.com failed with the following error message: The WinRM client cannot process the request.

I couldn’t connect! Why was this I wondered? It was working last time. I then proceeded to waste a good amount of time trying to troubleshoot WinRM errors to no avail. Only at the point of frustration did I actually read more of what the error message actually said:

Basic authentication is currently disabled in the client configuration. Change the client configuration and try the request again.

I then tried to connect to Exchange Online via PowerShell using another machine of mine and received the same error. I then tried a VM in Azure and that worked fine. It was at this point that I started to suspect it was something to do with my Intune policies as the Azure VM was stand alone.

I had just recently implemented the Security Baselines provided by Microsoft.

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I was working my way through some of the reports of conflicts and misconfigurations by adjust my existing best practices policies to suit. I didn’t appreciate that these Security Baselines actually implement policies that get pushed out to devices! I thought they just compared your settings to what Microsoft recommended as best practice.

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When I went to the affected workstations and ran the command:

winrm get winrm/config/client/auth

I got the above in which you can see that the Basic auth setting is indeed set to false but that it is set by a GPO. Ok, so where is this GPO I wondered? Given that all the affected machines were Azure AD joined without a local domain controller it meant that the GPO was going to be Intune, as that is where the policies are pushed from in my case.

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When I repeated that winrm command on a machine that worked I saw the above, Basic = true and no Source=”GPO”.

I then tried in vain to change the GPO locally using PowerShell and the GP console to alter the setting but with no luck.

Suspecting Intune and my policy fiddling, I totally disabled all configuration policies for the device but the problem continued. I then deleted the Security Baseline policies I had created and BAM, everything worked!

Ok, so the problem was the Security Baseline policies, but how? Well, it turns out that these Security Baselines actually do apply an additional policy to your devices once you enable it. Now my question was, where exactly does it do this and can I alter the Security Baseline if desired?

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Turns out, that the location for what affected me is in the Remote Management section of the MDM Security Baseline policy as shown above.

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Unfortunately, I had breezed over these options when I first set up the policy using the wizard. You can expand each of the options there and make adjustments if you need! D’Oh!

The lessons here are, firstly that if your implement the MDM Security Baseline or the Microsoft Defender ATP baseline, these will create policies and apply these to your environment. Secondly, you can customise these baselines if you wish, both during the creation process and afterward if you wish. Thirdly, you need to be careful with these policies as they set a lot of settings that you may not seem to immediately come from Intune.

I’ll spend some more time looking at these in detail and reporting back. My own personal best practice policies are pretty close to the Microsoft ones, but it is great that I can do a comparison between them and improve my own.

A frustrating self inflicted issue to resolve but I have learned much in nutting it out and I hope if you have the same issues that this information saves you the time I had to invest to resolve it!

Key skills for an IT Professional

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If you are an IT professional working in with Microsoft 365 then I would suggest the following are the top five skills that you need to have to be successful going forward. My pick, in order is:

1. PowerShell

2. Azure AD

3. Security

4. Intune

5. SharePoint

and here’s why:

PowerShell

PowerShell gives you the ability to script commands for both cloud and on premises Microsoft services. There are many things you can also only do using PowerShell, however more importantly, you can begin to automate what you do. This reduces the time it takes to complete processes as well as giving more consistent results. It also means that you can potentially offload these tasks to others who only need to know how to run the scripts you have created not understand what they entail.

I also find that understanding the PowerShell side of a process gives you a a much deeper understanding of that process and what is possible. I also think that having to do a bit of coding is a benefit to everyone. It helps you to think more logically, plan and structure what you want to achieve. You however don’t need to become a developer, it is easy to CTL-C and CTRL-V good scripts from various places and integrate them into your processes while making a few changes along the way. You can go as deep as you wish and create really amazing scripts that really make life in IT so much easier, while allowing you to do your job faster.

Remember, software will eat the world.

Azure AD

Identity is key to our modern world. You don’t get access to “stuff” until you prove who you are. Importantly, Azure AD is not the same a traditional on premises Active Directory. It is a subset, where the additional options can be added as needed. However, you need a good understanding of where a user’s primary identity is and how it is managed and secured in the cloud. Without this fundamental knowledge you are really going to struggle to understand things like modern device management and security.

All Microsoft services are underpinned by identity and Microsoft cloud services are underpinned by Azure AD. Thus, to administer, configure, troubleshoot these you need a good understanding of Azure AD.

Security

With so much of our assets now being digital, protecting them is paramount. We need to do this in a way that doesn’t inhibit productivity and that is a real challenge. Poor security to me indicates a fundamental lack of knowledge about the products in question. It also demonstrates a lack of discipline and consistency which are the hallmarks of your adversaries out there trying to gain access to systems you protect.

Security will never be an absolute and that makes it hard for many “IT types” to deal with who like to have a tangible end goal. There is not a finite end point with security, there is simply an ongoing challenge to stay one step ahead of the bad actors. Some see that as a burden while the true security professional sees it as a challenge. The protection of our future lies with good security and the challenges that brings. It therefore, will be a skill that will be in continuing high demand.

Intune

As mentioned, Azure AD doesn’t contain the same resources that on premises Active Directory did. The best example of this is probably Group Policy, which is something that Azure AD does not incorporate. To a large extent, that is now handled by Intune and this why it is such an important skill going forward for IT Professionals to become skilled with. It can also be implemented using things like PowerShell, which again goes to the point of how important this list of skills is across all Microsoft services today.

A key factor with Intune is its ability to configure mobile devices. This is something traditionally IT Professionals have not been able to do. However, with the growing numbers of mobile devices in use and their criticality to businesses of every size, it is now more important than ever to be able to easily configure and secure them directly from the Internet.

SharePoint

Most IT Professionals have some skill or familiarity with Exchange and emails which easily translates to services like Exchange Online. However, when it comes to files and folders in the cloud the service of choice is going to be SharePoint, for which there are a decided lack of skills even though SharePoint has been with us for many years now. As I have spoken about many, many time here, SharePoint is more than just simple storage, it is a collaboration system and needs to be approached in that manner to get the most from it. Not doing so results in lots of pain for both administrators and end users.


So there you have it. If I had to pick five skills in order that characterise a modern IT Professional, these would be they. You don’t need to be an elite ninja in each but likewise you can’t remain ignorant of them. if you work with Microsoft cloud technologies you should be familiar and comfortable with them all. If not, then you need to start investing some time and learning them because they will serve you well now and into the future.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 208

Jeffa is back! Jeff Alexander from Microsoft that is. Jeff is here to talk to about the modern desktop including things like Intune, Identity, Device Management and more. Modern desktops require a modern approach and thinking when it comes to everything from roll outs through to updating, so listen in for all the details on how to jump on board. Of course, Brenton and I give you an update on new things in the Microsoft Cloud so you’ll right up to date after this episode.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2019

Take a listen and let us know what you think – feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-208-jeff-alexander/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@Jeffa36

About Jeff

@Contactbrenton

@directorcia

New to Microsoft 365 in May

Adding the SharePoint Starter Kit

Provisioning Microsoft 365 Learning pathways

Get started with Intune

Locking installed apps to Windows Store only

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If you go into your settings in Windows 10 and select Apps you should see the above dialog.

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You can see the options that are available to you as shown above. You’ll see that one of the options available is Allow apps from Store only. Although not a fool-proof security option but setting this would reduce the chances of malware executing on the desktop because the only method of installation is from the Microsoft curated Store. A random piece of malware, delivered via email say, could not execute since it doesn’t come from the Microsoft Store I would suggest.

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Using Intune we can apply this setting across a range of Windows 10 desktops using a Windows 10 Device Restriction Policy as you see above. Simply locate the App Store option, then Apps from store only and set the value to Require as shown.

In a short period of time, once the policy has deployed, those devices will only be able to install software from the Microsoft Store, preventing installation from anywhere else and hopefully also preventing malware installations.

The good thing about this restriction is the user can still be a local administrator of their machine if you desire and installations will be restricted. The other good things is that it is policy based, which means it is easy to turn on and off as required or exclude users if need be.

As I said earlier, it is not a fool proof method of preventing malware being installed on a Windows 10 desktop, but would certainly make it much more difficult. In this day and age, we need all the help we can get to counter the threats. Hopefully, this will help.

Unable to enable Javascript on iOS device

While setting up a new iPhone that was enrolled in MDM and using Intune, I came across an issue when setting up the Qantas app on iOS.

When you attempt to login to the Qantas app to set it up for the first time you are shelled out to Safari and here it needs to use Javascript to complete its login process. Unfortunately, if you have Javascript disabled then you get a nasty error message that you need to enable it and you can go no further.

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No problem, you think. I’ll just go into the device Settings, Safari then Advanced where you expect to see the above Javascript option. Only problem is, that for some reason, you can’t change this option because it is disabled for some reason.

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In my case, the reason why it was disabled is because I had an Intune Device Restrictions policy in place that was blocking Javacript. You change this option by going into the iOS restriction policy, selecting Settings, Built-in Apps, Safari, Javascript as shown above. Change the setting from Block to Not configured, then Save the policy change and allow a few minutes for the policy to be applied to the device.

After that, I was able to re-run the Qantas app configuration and set up everything as expected. You could then, if course change the policy back if you wished to block Javascript going forward.

The lesson here is, that if something is blocked on your device that is managed by Intune, then most likely that setting is being controlled by an Intune policy and you’ll need to make the change there.