Operating System (OS) as a Service.
These are all terms you might have heard in connection with Windows 365. But what do they actually mean? Put simply, Windows 365 is Windows 10 OS (or 11 when it’s released) delivered virtually to any device. All you need is internet access.
Instead of your users having their OS installed on a specific device, they can log in to their own OS via Microsoft’s website or use the remote desktop app. Wherever they are in the world, whatever device they have in their hand at that moment, they get a seamless experience. It’s pitched as a hybrid working wonder.
Businesses can be more flexible about the OS specification their users are assigned. And if a user’s role changes, demanding more processors, or more storage, then you can upgrade them in a few clicks.
For onboarding, setting up new users is a breeze. For offboarding, it’s just as simple, but you will need to take into account the upcoming Microsoft CSP changes. These changes, coming in March 2022, will affect when you can reduce your total number of licenses during your subscription.
Recent chip shortages, and the ensuing device procurement challenges, have left many businesses procuring whatever devices they can, regardless of specific user needs. You can run Windows 365 on any internet-enabled device, whether that’s company-owned or personal, and still get a great experience.
This means you might not need to refresh client devices as often, so we’re expecting to see businesses that deploy Windows 365 sweating their hardware assets for longer. It’s also an enabler for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, as any internet-enabled, personal device can be easily set-up for corporate use.
As ever, Microsoft are doing a lot at the back-end to enhance the security of their solutions. IT teams, or their service providers, can preconfigure and assign security settings across all users and applications. In remote working or BYOD scenarios, this will give companies reassurance that the Windows environment their employees are using is safe and secure.
The great thing about Windows 365 is the quality of experience you get for all your usual desktop Office applications. Unlike the Office Web Apps, which offer a substandard experience to the full locally installed apps, you get a richer user experience in Windows 365, even though it’s hosted in the cloud. You still need to purchase your Office/Microsoft 365 licences, as you would with a traditional OS, but once these are in place you’re ready to go.
You don’t need an overly advanced internet connection to run Windows 365. If you can stream Netflix, then you can run Windows 365. With no processing done where you are, and back-end speed tests coming out at roughly 10 gigabytes, you’re unlikely to experience any latency.
One flaw in the concept is of course that without Internet, you are without a PC. But this is not as much of an issue as it would have been in the past. If you do lose your internet at home or in the office, then any stop in work will be temporary. You can get right back online by either tethering to a mobile phone, or changing location. If this happens, there’s no scramble to recover in-progress work, as your work isn’t done locally. When you’re reconnected, you just pick up and carry on exactly where you left off.
There’s no doubt, the two solutions are similar, but here’s where Windows 365 differs: Microsoft have done all the back-end configuration work for you. You get all the benefits of Azure VDI, without needing a technical department to handle the initial set-up and ongoing management. For smaller businesses that lack this resource in-house, this will afford them far more control over their IT provisioning.
We’re interested to see what uptake for Windows 365 will be like. It certainly looks promising. In fact when Microsoft first launched their beta licence trials, demand was so high that they had to close off new applicants after just a couple of days.
Have you got questions about Windows 365? Let us know.