Endpoint Manager and Intune Learning Resources for Always On VPN Administrators

Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM), formerly Intune, is the recommended solution for deploying and managing Windows Always On VPN client configuration settings. Always On VPN is designed for Mobile Device Management (MDM), with configuration settings deployed specifically to the VPNv2 Configuration Service Provider (CSP) interface.

Resources

Getting up to speed on all things MEM isn’t difficult at all. I’ve found the MEM community to be exceedingly helpful, and there are many available training resources in various formats from which to choose.

Books

The following is a list of Microsoft Endpoint Manager books Always On VPN administrators will find most helpful for learning about MEM.

YouTube

The Intune Training channel on YouTube is an incredibly valuable resource for Always On VPN administrators learning MEM. Hosted by Steven Hosking, Adam Gross, and Ben Reader, there are countless videos covering important MEM configuration tasks.

Pluralsight

Pluralsight offers video training courses for a wide variety of IT-related topics. Recently I published the  Implementing Always On VPN video training course. There are several Microsoft Endpoint Manager video training courses available as well. Pluralsight is available via subscription. You can sign up for a free trial here if you don’t have a subscription.

Conferences

The Midwest Management Summit (MMS) is the premier event for systems management professionals. Their annual conference takes place each spring in the U.S. (Minneapolis, MN). The event is the best place to learn about Microsoft Endpoint Manager and network with systems management professionals worldwide.

Additional Resources

As a reminder, MEM topics such as certificate deployment and Always On VPN profile deployment and management are covered in detail in both my Implementing Always On VPN book and the Implementing Always On VPN video training course on Pluralsight. 😁

Always On VPN at MMSMOA 2022

I am excited to announce that I will be presenting at this year’s Midwest Management Summit at the Mall of America (MMSMOA) in Bloomington, Minnesota. The conference takes place the week of May 2. This is my first time presenting at this event, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experience deploying enterprise mobility and security infrastructure solutions with systems management professionals from around the world.

Sessions

I will be delivering three talks at the conference addressing various secure remote access and certificate services topics.

Managing Always On VPN with Intune

This session will provide administrators with everything they need to know about provisioning and managing Always On VPN client configuration settings using Intune. I’ll be providing tips, tricks, and best practices for Always On VPN profile configuration and demonstrating many of the limitations associated with using Intune. I will provide workarounds whenever possible.

Managing Always On VPN with Intune: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Always On VPN Gateway Options in Azure

Deploying Always On VPN in Azure is increasingly common. However, administrators are unaware of the limitations of supporting Always On VPN connections with native Azure VPN gateway solutions. In this session, I’ll describe in detail what’s required to support Always On VPN and, importantly, what the limitations are.

Always On VPN Gateway Options in Azure

Deploying On-premises PKI Certificates with Intune

As organizations continue to migrate applications, services, and infrastructure to the cloud, the requirement for endpoints to be joined to an on-premises domain is fading. Moving to full Intune management and native Azure Active Directory join for endpoints is increasingly common. However, deploying enterprise PKI certificates o these endpoints is often required. This session will provide detailed guidance for choosing the best solution to deliver on-premises certificates to Azure AD joined devices using Intune.

Deploying on-premises PKI Certificates with Intune

Let’s Connect

I’m looking forward to meeting so many folks who have helped me get up to speed with Microsoft Endpoint Manager/Intune over the years. If you’re attending the conference, or if you are in the area, be sure to reach out. Let’s grab a beer and chat!

Additional Information

Midwest Management Summit at Mall of America (MMSMOA) 2022

Managing Always On VPN with Intune: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Always On VPN Gateway Options in Azure

Deploying on-premises PKI Certificates with Intune

Always On VPN and Intune Proactive Remediation

Always On VPN and Autopilot Hybrid Azure AD Join

When configuring and deploying Windows Always On VPN using Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM)/Intune, administrators may find that some settings are not exposed in the MEM UI. In some cases, deploying the configuration profile using custom XML is the workaround. However, many crucial Always On VPN settings are not exposed using either method. Here, administrators must resort to editing settings in the VPN configuration file on the client after provisioning the VPN profile.

Phonebook

A file called rasphone.pbk stores all Windows VPN settings on the endpoint. It includes name/value pairs that correspond to many settings administrators change manually in the GUI. Other settings can be changed using PowerShell. Depending on the connection type, the file can be found in one of two locations.

  • User Tunnel: $env:AppData\Microsoft\Network\Connections\Pbk\rasphone.pbk
  • Device Tunnel: $env:ProgramData\Microsoft\Network\Connections\Pbk\rasphone.pbk

Documentation for Windows VPN client phonebook entry settings can be found here.

Limitations

Unfortunately, editing the rasphone.pbk file isn’t always convenient. Making the changes is technically easy. Administrators can write a simple PowerShell script to update the text file as required. However, automating this at scale is challenging. Thankfully, Intune Proactive Remediations can help.

Proactive Remediations

With Intune Proactive Remediations, administrators can create and deploy script packages to monitor and optionally update specific configuration settings. The package includes two scripts, a detection script, and a remediation script. The detection script looks at the current value of a particular setting and reports on its compliance. The remediation script is triggered to update the setting if the value is incorrect.

Requirements

Intune Proactive Remediations has some specific licensing requirements. Administrators must also enroll devices into Endpoint analytics and provision a Windows Health Monitoring configuration profile. There are also limitations on the size and type of scripts that administrators can use. More information on prerequisites can be found here.

Script Packages

Administrators can create detection and remediation PowerShell scripts to update settings in rasphone.pbk, or optionally, they can download sample scripts from my GitHub repository here. This repository contains user and device tunnel detection and remediation scripts for many popular settings in rasphone.pbk. Examples include updating the VPN Strategy, changing VPN interface metrics, disabling class-based default routes, and many more.

Note: The scripts in my GitHub repository are examples only. While they can be used in production environments, they are basic and may not work as expected in all scenarios. For example, the scripts as written today assume only a single VPN profile provisioned. Unexpected results may occur if more than one VPN profile exists. Please use them at your own risk.

Deployment

In this example, we’ll deploy a Proactive Remediation to disable IKE mobility for user tunnel VPN connections. To configure an Intune Proactive Remediation, open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager portal (https://endpoint.microsoft.com/) and navigate to Reports > Endpoint analytics > Proactive remediations. After creating or downloading the detection and remediation scripts, perform the following steps to create and deploy a Proactive Remediation script package.

  1. Click Create script package.
  2. Enter a name for the package in the Name field.
  3. Enter a description for the package in the Description field (optional).
  4. Click Next.
  5. Click the blue folder icon next to the Detection script file field and upload the detection script.
  6. Click the blue folder icon next to the Remediation script file field and upload the associated remediation script.
  7. For user tunnel connections, click Yes next to Run this script using the logged-on credentials. For device tunnel connections, click No.
  8. Click Next.

Assign scope tags and group assignments as necessary, then click Create. Click Refresh to update the UI to display the newly created script package.

Caveats

Be advised that Proactive Remediation script packages run immediately after the first device sync and then every 24 hours after that. Timing issues could lead to delays in functionality. For example, if an Always On VPN profile is provisioned after a Proactive Remediation script runs, the changes made by the remediation script won’t be available until much later. Also, changes made while the VPN is active will not take effect until after restarting the connection.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Tom Klaver at Inspark for turning me on to this feature. It has been an absolute lifesaver for sure!

Additional Information

Microsoft Intune Proactive Remediation Tutorial

Windows VPN Phonebook Entry Settings

Intune Proactive Remediation Script Samples on GitHub

Microsoft Windows Always On VPN Class-Based Default Route and Intune

Microsoft Windows Always On VPN Short Name Access Failure

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