New year, new management portal. Microsoft has opened its Office Client Policy Service for preview, offering some interesting new services for administrators. The web portal's main draw is its ability to quickly manage policies for all users in their organization.
These capabilities include non-traditional devices that aren't connected to the business' domain. In the case of personal devices used for business, admins can enforce policies without any infrastructure or MDM services.
- “Build a policy configuration that includes the policies you want to enforce, configured as needed for your organization's needs. The service is always up to date and includes the latest policies as they are released.
- Target a group of users by assigning the policy configuration to a specific AAD security group.
- Policies automatically enforced as users sign into Office 365 ProPlus.”
The preview should give admins a good idea if this system will work for them. It's available to all organizations with Office 365 ProPlus, but is “limited to a subset of the user based policies defined in the ADMX templates“.
Microsoft says machine-based policies aren't included, and it's worth noting that the Office Client Policy Service isn't designed to replace Group Policy management. Microsoft says this is designed as a complement to those Windows methods, only requiring an active Azure AD sign-in to work on any device.
You can check the portal out for yourself here, as well as provide feedback during these developing stages.