Why testing Intune Endpoint Privilege Management is Essential
Microsoft Intune has recently unveiled the preview version of Endpoint Privilege Management, a robust capability that allows the removal of administrative privileges from end users on managed Windows desktops. As organizations consider implementing this feature, it is important to understand its potential and carefully evaluate its implementation.
Key Features of
Endpoint Privilege Management (EPM) in Intune presents a well-thought-out initial implementation. It introduces the option to require users to provide a business justification for elevation requests, which can be monitored within Intune. Notably, EPM benefits from built-in client-side components within the operating system, eliminating the need for additional agents.
Enhanced Security Measures
EPM offers configurable settings that allow additional authentication, such as password or Windows Hello, when elevating applications. This feature helps verify the user’s identity during administrator elevation. Furthermore, Intune policies for Endpoint Privilege Management offer various rules based on file hash, certificate, path, and file information, similar to AppLocker. By applying these rules, organizations can ensure that only authorized applications are granted elevation privileges.
Considerations during the Preview Phase
In the current preview state, it’s important to be aware that child processes of an elevated application inherit administrator rights. This unintended consequence may result in inadvertently granting more privileges than intended. However, Microsoft is actively addressing this issue and working to ensure that only the specified application is elevated without elevating child processes.
Recommended Scenarios for Endpoint Privilege Management
Endpoint Privilege Management is particularly valuable in the following scenarios:
- User Groups Requiring Administrative Access: For IT professionals or developers who need administrative access to complete tasks, EPM enables the removal of standing administrator access. By requiring users to elevate applications with a business justification gate, organizations can enforce controlled elevation for specific tools like PowerShell or Visual Studio.
- Legacy Applications with Administrative Rights: Legacy applications that require administrative rights to operate can benefit from automatic elevation without any modifications. Care should be taken to evaluate potential risks and ensure appropriate security controls or endpoint detection and response solutions are in place to mitigate unauthorized privilege escalation.
- Ad-Hoc Application Installs: Allowing end-users or support staff to manually install specific applications can be facilitated by EPM. This scenario is particularly useful for organizations with a large number of applications and a small number of installed instances. However, it is crucial to assess regulatory and compliance requirements and understand the risks associated with end-user software installation.
While third-party solutions with similar capabilities already exist, Microsoft’s Endpoint Privilege Management provides several advantages. The policy controls are seamlessly integrated within Microsoft Intune, alongside other OS controls like Microsoft Defender. Additionally, the client-side components are built into Windows 10 and Windows 11, eliminating the need for additional deployment agents. Implementing a least privilege model is a vital step in securing Windows endpoints, making Endpoint Privilege Management a valuable tool for organizations of all sizes. It is recommended to evaluate EPM’s capabilities and consider its implementation as part of endpoint protection strategies.