Renaming Devices in Intune: A Myth-Busting Article on Security and Mismatch Issues

Question:

I am a new help desk employee and I use Intune to manage devices. I noticed that the device naming conventions are inconsistent and I want to standardize them. However, our information security officer warned me that renaming devices could pose a security threat. Is this true? How does renaming devices affect their security, either through Intune or on the device itself? He claimed that a mismatch between the device name in Intune and on the device would create a vulnerability. But wouldn’t the device name sync automatically after renaming it in either place? I have not tested this myself because of his advice. How would the security be compromised by renaming devices?

Answer:

How Device Renaming Affects Security in Intune

Intune is a cloud-based service that allows you to manage your organization’s devices and applications. One of the tasks you may need to perform as a help desk employee is to rename devices to follow a consistent naming convention. However, you may have heard from your information security officer that renaming devices could compromise their security. Is this claim valid? How does device renaming affect security in Intune? This article will explain the facts and myths about device renaming and security in Intune.

Device renaming is the action of changing the device name property in the Intune admin center for a device enrolled in Intune. The device name is a friendly name that you can use to identify and manage your devices. You can rename devices individually or in bulk, depending on the device platform. You can also use a device name template to automatically assign device names based on predefined variables.

Device renaming does not change the management name or the device name in the Company Portal app. The management name is a unique identifier that Intune assigns to each device. The device name in the Company Portal app is the name that the user sees on their device. You can view and modify these names in different ways.

Which devices support device renaming in Intune?

You can rename the following types of devices in Intune:

  • Android Enterprise: Corporate-owned work profiles, dedicated devices, fully managed devices
  • Android (AOSP): Corporate-owned devices
  • iOS/iPadOS: Supervised devices with iOS 9.3 and later
  • macOS: Corporate-owned devices
  • Windows 11: Corporate-owned devices
  • Windows 10: Corporate-owned devices, corporate-owned co-managed devices that are Microsoft Entra joined
  • Note that renaming of Android Enterprise devices will only change the device name in the Intune admin center and not on the device itself. Also, this feature does not support renaming hybrid Microsoft Entra Windows devices.

    How does device renaming affect security in Intune?

    The main concern about device renaming and security is the possibility of creating a mismatch between the device name in Intune and the device name on the device itself. This mismatch could potentially cause confusion, miscommunication, or misconfiguration among the IT staff, the users, and the security policies. For example, if a device is lost or stolen, and the device name in Intune does not match the device name on the device, it could be harder to locate or wipe the device remotely.

    However, this concern is largely unfounded, as device renaming in Intune does not create a mismatch between the device name in Intune and the device name on the device. When you rename a device in Intune, the new name is pushed to the device and synced automatically, unless the device is offline or powered off. The device name on the device will also update the device name in Intune when it checks in to Intune, unless there is a device name template that overrides it. Therefore, there is no risk of creating a vulnerability by renaming devices in Intune.

    The only exception is Android Enterprise devices, which do not update the device name on the device when renamed in Intune. However, this does not compromise the security of the device, as the device name on the device is not used for authentication or authorization purposes. The device name on the device is only a user-friendly name that the user can change at any time. The device name in Intune is the name that is used for management and security policies. Therefore, renaming Android Enterprise devices in Intune does not affect their security either.

    What are the best practices for device renaming in Intune?

    To ensure that you rename devices in Intune effectively and securely, you should follow these best practices:

  • Choose a clear and consistent naming convention that suits your organization’s needs and preferences. You can use criteria such as environment, OS type, purpose of device, targeted scope, etc. to create meaningful and unique device names.
  • Avoid using unnecessary or duplicate criteria that could make the device names too long or confusing. For example, you do not need to include the type of configuration, the tenant organization name, the configuration details, etc. in the device name.
  • Be hierarchical and logical in your naming convention. Use separators such as hyphens, underscores, or slashes to group related criteria and indicate the order of importance. For example, you can use Prod-Win10-Laptop-IT or UAT-iOS-Tablet-Sales as device names.
  • Use a device name template to automate and standardize the device naming process. You can use variables such as serial number, IMEI, asset tag, etc. to generate device names based on the device properties. You can also use custom variables to add your own criteria to the device name template.
  • Review and update your device names regularly to ensure that they reflect the current status and configuration of your devices. You can use the Rename device action in the Intune admin center to rename devices individually or in bulk. You can also use the Company Portal app to rename devices from the device itself.
  • Conclusion

    Device

renaming is a useful feature in Intune that allows you to manage your devices more efficiently and effectively. However, device renaming does not compromise the security of your devices, as there is no mismatch between the device name in Intune and the device name on the device. You can rename devices in Intune safely and securely, as long as you follow the best practices for device naming. By doing so, you can optimize your organization with effective Microsoft endpoint naming.

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