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Microsoft is not leaving anything to chance as the wave of migration to the cloud continues sweeping across the tech world. The company introduced a new cloud service, Windows 365, revealing its renewed focus on software in a way that hasn’t been seen for a long time.
This new service allows them to offer virtual PCs to customers. Therefore, Microsoft is not only providing the operating system and bits of other software—productivity application in the form of office—but now offering desktop as a service with virtual machines operating on its cloud of Azure servers.
Read on to learn more about Windows 365 and how deploying it can benefit your organization.
Windows 365 is a new operating system running from the cloud and accessible to customers regardless of their location. There has been a similar feature through virtualization and remote access software, but now Microsoft has released it as an official service.
While Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) service forms the foundation of Windows 365, this new release differs significantly from AVD. With windows 365, every user gets their own machine (Windows 10 or 11) in the cloud with a local profile. The virtual desktops are static and don’t start up fresh from the image after a reboot. Therefore, all changes you make to the device, including file type associations, software installations, etc., remain on the machine after reboot. You can always get back to your virtual desktop when you want since the machines are personal.
Windows 365 works on Microsoft Azure as its Cloud component. Therefore, it is a subscription-based service. Your business pays a fixed monthly fee to access the specific virtual desktop. Unlike the Azure Virtual Desktop, where you pay based on usage, the price for Windows 365 remains the same no matter the duration you run the cloud PC.
Shifting to Windows 365 has numerous advantages for organizations, small or large. Here’s how this revolutionary application can benefit you:
The theory of remote access is the basis of the concept of cloud computing—enabling a user organization to run its business via a device from any remote location. Windows 365 Cloud PC applies the same concept but in a better way. While you need a physical device to use the Cloud PC, your device can be anything from a tablet to a laptop. You can access the Cloud PC even when traveling, thus simple and hassle-free access to the cloud.
Windows 365 also offers a consistent translation of Microsoft products across all operating systems. Integrating the Cloud PC with other Microsoft applications and tools is also easy.
With Windows 365, a physical device is only necessary to log in to the Cloud PC, saving organizations hardware costs. You can configure the CPU, RAM, and size of the PC within the virtual environment according to the changing needs. IT departments can expand or scale back the storage and processing capacity requirements on a continuous basis, thus eliminating concerns about storage and space in the PC.
Organizations working with a remote team face issues related to device security. Fortunately, a Virtual PC gives you control of the device environment. Additionally, working with a virtual PC makes enforcing security policies and automating updates hassle-free. User companies can allow their team to work from their devices since the risk of data leakage is significantly low. In fact, Windows 365 supports Zero Trust principles which incorporate optimal security measures and assurances when using any cloud-based services.
An organization with a hybrid working arrangement (employees work from the office and at home at different times) can benefit immensely from Windows 365. Windows 365 does not require the user organizations to complete an entire systems update to optimize their Microsoft experience. Hybrid employees can continue working seamlessly from remote locations even if operations come to a halt at the office due to an on-premise emergency.
Windows 365 Cloud PC also allows team members to easily leave a particular file open on the on-premise PC, log in, and complete the work later on the virtual PC. Its features, such as super easy management and instant start-up or boot, allow users to pick up where they left off while in the office workstation.
Careful planning is critical for a successful Windows 365 deployment. Below are the steps involved in the planning process:
First, determine what you want to achieve with Windows 365. Common objectives include accessing organizational apps and data, geographical regions, and managing cloud PCs. You can work through the three objectives for each virtual PC use case. For instance, if you target end users in different geographical regions, you should map out their locations.
Each virtual PC device’s specifications have its specific license. Therefore, you must review all your use cases and plot the workload to the required license.
Establish a management plan for your Cloud PCs, policy applications, applications distributions, and device updates.
Determine the process and timeline for rolling out Cloud PCs to your end users.
Communicating all changes and disruptions to your users is the best way to have a seamless deployment. Include the exact time, information, and process of communicating with your users in the rollout communication plan.
Involve your IT support during the planning and deployment to equip them with knowledge and experience in effectively identifying and resolving problems. Therefore, incorporate support training in your plan. You should also educate your end users by providing them with guidelines on connecting with their Virtual PC, using the PC for their particular scenario, and getting support when needed.
After creating a robust planning process, you can move to Windows 365 deployment. You start by purchasing Windows 365 licenses. After that, the Microsoft Endpoint Manager in the software becomes active for management, thus allowing you to continue with system setup and provision of on-demand virtual PCs to your users.
The first step involves assigning licenses to your users. Once you assign the licenses, you can move to create a provisioning policy. However, there are optional steps you can consider in between, including creating an Azure network connection, providing a localized Windows experience, and adding device images.
Windows 365 comes with a plethora of benefits to your organization. However, deploying the Cloud PC with your in-house team can be overwhelming. Partnering with an experienced company like Schilling IT ensures a seamless, time-efficient process. It’s always good to have a partner on your side providing technical support when you need it. Contact us today for help in shifting to Windows 365.
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