What is Windows 365?

The pandemic has changed the way many companies operate. One notable development is an increase in the number of businesses adopting a hybrid work model. In other words, they are allowing employees to work both onsite and remotely. For example, employees might work onsite three days a week and work from home the rest of the time.  

However, businesses often need to set up separate systems that enable remote employees to connect to the company network and access its resources. Besides increasing IT staff members’ workloads, these systems can increase companies’ potential attack surface, especially if the remote workers are using their own personal devices to connect to the network. 

To implement a successful hybrid work environment, businesses need a solution that allows employees to access and share resources, collaborate, and communicate while keeping the companies’ data and IT systems secure. Employees need a solution that is easy to use and available across devices. 

To address these needs, Microsoft rolled out Windows 365 on August 2, 2021. Windows 365 provides the Windows 10 and Windows 11 (expected in late 2021) operating systems as a cloud service. Just like employees have their own physical Windows PCs in a traditional workplace, users have their own Windows PCs in the cloud. Each user’s “Cloud PC” contains his or her personalized apps, data, and settings. 

Here are some of the features of Windows 365. 

Easy for Employees to Access and Use 

One feature that will likely attract employees is the ability to access their Cloud PC from any device that has a web browser, including Android, iPad, Linux, Mac, and even Raspberry Pi devices. Alternatively, they can run the Microsoft Remote Desktop app to access their Cloud PC if they are using a Windows, iOS, macOS, or Android device. The experience will remain the same no matter what device employees are using or even if they change devices based on where they are working from.  

Employees will also appreciate the ease with which they can connect to their Cloud PC. All they need to do is open the Remote Desktop app or web browser on their device and log in to their Windows 365 account. 

Easy for IT Staff to Manage 

Business leaders and IT staff will likely appreciate the ease in which Cloud PCs can be deployed, managed, and secured. Although Windows 365 is built on Azure Virtual Desktop, the cloud service takes care of the virtualization details. 

Equally important, Windows 365 is integrated into Microsoft Endpoint Manager. As a result, Cloud PCs appear alongside physical devices in Endpoint Manager. IT staff members are able to use the same tools to deploy, manage, and secure both Cloud PCs and physical devices. 

Not Just for Large Companies with a Hybrid Workplace 

Windows 365 was designed from the ground up to fit the hybrid work experience. However, companies with a traditional workplace might also find the cloud service beneficial. For example, Cloud PCs would work well in organizations where employees frequently travel for business or work out of multiple offices. 

And since Windows 365 is a subscription-based cloud service that employs a per-user pricing structure, it is suitable for companies of any size. Two subscription plans are available at the time of this writing: Windows 365 Business (300 or fewer users) and Windows 365 Enterprise (unlimited number of users). Microsoft currently does not offer any consumer plans, but that might change in the future. 

MicroAge can provide more information and help you determine if it is a viable solution for your business. Contact us today. 

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