Introducing Windows 365 to End Users
Windows 365 is a modern and new Windows experience delivered to practically any device. Microsoft describes it a “a premium experience for both users and IT. It’s easy to use and just as easy for IT to manage.” It is a new category of computing Microsoft calls Cloud PC.
What is Windows 365?
Windows 365 is a Cloud PC accessible from nearly any Internet connected device, enabling the end user to work remotely and securely from anywhere in the world.
For end users, they can access their Windows 365 computer from any Internet connected device, including personal laptops or portable devices, such as an iPad. Cloud PCs generally have better hardware specs and faster Internet connectivity than the device they are accessed from, ensuring a smooth end user experience. Everything is available from the Start menu, such as Microsoft Office and Teams. When the end user changes devices, the Windows 365 computer stays running to provide a faster login experience by not having to re-launch all their applications.
The Windows 365 experience is effectively the same as if you were in the office. This great for anyone, whether you are a front-line worker in a high security environment or an everyday or advanced user working from home or in the corporate office, your favorite spot like a café or even on the go.
What are some uses for Windows 365?
Here are some uses for Windows 365 in both in the personal and corporate environments:
- Developer systems for programming teams developing or testing software in a development environment.
- Delivering a consistent experience for the modern hybrid work environments.
- Delivering a Windows experience to those who wish to use Apple or other types of computing devices.
- Reducing the exposure of personally owned devices to the corporate network by eliminating VPN connections.
- An easier-to-manage cloud computing platform. Traditionally, RDS servers were used for Cloud PCs and this solution was complicated and required specialized technical skills to configure and support.
- Securing sensitive information on computing resources that can’t be physically stolen.
- Complete replacement of local networks and computers.
- A stable Windows computer for aging or elderly loved ones who require remote support from time to time. Deploy a Windows 365 computer and configure their old laptop to always connect to the service.
What are the requirements for Windows 365?
A Windows 365 Cloud PC can be accessed on an Internet connection that generally supports movie streaming. Typically, this is somewhere around 15-20mb of Internet speed. In addition to an Internet connection, an Office 365/Azure tenant is required, but most companies already have this subscription in place.
Is Windows 365 Secure?
Microsoft designed Windows 365 from the ground up to fit the hybrid work experience we’ve all been living. Ordinarily, connecting to your work network with a personal device can introduce risk. With Windows 365, you don’t have to worry about local or VPN access from a personally owned device. With Windows 365, your Cloud PC experience is effectively the same as if you were in the office.
Like the rest of Microsoft Cloud services, Microsoft made Windows 365 compliant in the region and industries they operate in. You can find the latest info on the Microsoft trust center. From a security perspective, a primary benefit is that your Cloud PC is abstracted from the device you’re using to access it. So as an admin you have full control over the data in the Cloud PC and can prevent people from copying data to their local PC.
Now beyond that, Windows 365 follows the Zero Trust security model. For example, you can use multi-factor authentication to explicitly verify any login or access attempt to a Cloud PC. And you can pair this with conditional access policies to assess login risk instantly for each session.
Microsoft also designed the user and admin experiences around the principles of least privileged access. For example, you can delegate specific functions like licensing, device management, and Cloud PC management using specific roles, so you don’t need to be a global admin. You can use the baselines from Microsoft Defender and Edge just like you would for your physical devices. And Microsoft built a Windows 365-specific security baseline to help you get started quickly. And of course, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint also works seamlessly with your Cloud PC. Also, as you would expect, encryption is applied across the board for all data at rest and in transit.
This service makes it a lot easier to securely deliver Windows experiences to just about any device and anyone with a device management background can add Cloud PCs to their device landscape. Even though this is a new product from Microsoft, Solution Builders has been deploying and supporting Cloud PC infrastructure for over 10 years.
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This week’s post is by Tim Malzahn, Principal Consultant at Malzahn Strategic
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