Microsoft has revealed its latest service, Windows 365, which will allow access to ‘Cloud PC’’s anywhere, on pretty much any device. A Cloud PC is an Azure-powered service, that enables users to stream Windows 10 or 11 in a web browser, allowing them to remotely access Windows desktops, access files and use Microsoft programs. This means Microsoft users, can access their data, tools and apps on Macs, iPads, Android devices and more.
Signing into your Cloud PC will exactly replicate your Windows desktop. If you are working on your business owned laptop or computer, and then switch to your personal device and sign in to your Cloud PC, your exact desktop will display, and will even include any apps you had open so you can pick up where you left off. As Windows 365 is a Cloud PC, you are not limited to work on one particular device. This is extremely beneficial to those who hot desk as well as those who are hybrid working, as you can log in to a secure, and always ready windows environment with your personal files, data and apps.
Furthermore, Windows 365 adds an extra layer of security when using multiple devices, especially personal devices. Connecting personal devices to a corporate network isn’t usually recommended, however, as your Cloud PC is always connected to the work network, the user doesn’t have to worry about connecting to a VPN or a local network. Moreover, Windows 365 follows the same ‘zero trust’ security model which includes elements such as two-factor authentication when logging into devices. The user and management experience work on the principles of least privileged access, which means admins can delegate specific roles, thus not allowing individuals unnecessary global admin access. Windows 365 also comes with specific baseline security so set up can be completed quickly and seamlessly.
Windows 365 isn’t a brand-new concept, with tools such as Azure Virtual Desktop and Citrix offering cloud-hosted desktops. However, the main difference with Microsoft is the focus on ease of use and management. For example, when a user launches their Cloud PC for the first time, they are taken through a guided tour that covers the set-up process, and what’s included. Managing the Cloud PCs for the business has been made easy and accessible for Admin users. The Microsoft 365 admin centre includes everything an admin would need to regularly access such as devices, reporting, licensing, billing and setup. Within the Admin centre, there is built-in analytics, that looks at health and performance as well as a watchdog service that continuously runs diagnostics. For any failures within the systems, the admin users will receive notifications reporting the issue, which will also include possible resolutions. Within the reporting section of the admin centre, you can find reports on start-up performance, proactive remediations, recommended software, application realisability and more. Additionally, you can find reports on device performance, where you can select specific devices and analyse its performance. This allows you to make changes and amend items such as memory or CPU to increase the device performance.
Another benefit of Microsoft 365 is that it is offered at a fixed price per user per month- the same as most other Microsoft licensing. This means IT managers can easily build the costs into the IT strategy and budget.
The Windows 365 release has been timed perfectly, as businesses are starting to make decisions on returning to the office and hybrid working. Windows 365 launches on the 2nd of August and will only be available for businesses at this time. The launch will include two variations, Business and Enterprise that vary depending on your business needs.
Whilst Microsoft has not officially announced the prices of the packages, or what is included, they did, however, accidentally reveal some details of the business package during a Microsoft Inspire session last week. The Verge reported that the business package, for companies of 300 users or less, could cost $31 per month, which will include 2 CPUs, 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage. Microsoft will also be offering a package that includes a single CPU, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which will more than likely be a lower-priced package. However, no further details of this have been confirmed.
Official communications about the package details and pricing will be announced during the launch of the products, on the 2nd of August.