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Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC for The New World of Work

Posted by Errin O'Connor on Jul, 23, 2021 12:07

The COVID-19 Pandemic was awful for humanity. Apart from causing a massive public health crisis, it also caused a technological, social, and cultural disruption.

Over a year into the Pandemic and still the digital adoption curve is not slowing down. Nevertheless, it is accelerating, and it is just the beginning. Global organizations are moving from remote working to the hybrid working model, where some employees will work from the office, and some will continue to work remotely.

‘Flexible work’ is the new world of work and is here to stay. Although remote work created job opportunities for some and offered family time for many, there are some real-life challenges and unsustainable threats due to digital exhaustion.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says, “We are building the cloud for the next decade, expanding our addressable market and innovating across every layer of the tech stack to help our customers be resilient and transform.” Following his vision, Microsoft announced Windows 365 on 14th July 2021. With Windows 365, Microsoft took the operating system in Microsoft Cloud to deliver a fully personalized PC experience from the cloud on any device.

Windows Cloud PC

What is Windows 365?

Windows 365 is the first cloud PC launched by Microsoft. Windows has evolved from being a device-based OS to hybrid personalized computing after deploying the operating system in the cloud. A cloud PC streams your personalized desktop, apps, settings, and content securely from the cloud to the device. Users can now access cloud PC from anywhere by streaming the latest Windows 10 and Windows 11 version from the web browser.

Windows 365 is compatible to run on all modern web browsers through Microsoft Remote Desktop App and allows users to access cloud PCs from any device. Windows 365 offers an instant-on boot experience across Macs, iPads, Linux machines, and Android devices.

When you deploy and manage virtual endpoints in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, you get the flexibility to decrease costs by minimizing the complexity of the environment. Besides, you do not need additional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) expertise or resources to run and use Windows 365 on your device.

  • You can procure, provision, and deploy Windows 365 instantly and leverage automatic updates.
  • You can enjoy a personalized Windows desktop experience by accessing Windows 365 from anywhere and on any device.
  • Always pick up from where you left off, even if you change the device.

How Windows 365 Works?

Windows 365 is strictly an enterprise product and not for retail use. Small businesses having a handful of employees and large corporations having thousands of employees from all over can use Windows 365 with equal ease.

According to Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, by bringing the operating system to the cloud, organizations will get more flexibility and a secure way of empowering their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location.

Setting Up Windows 365

Windows 365 Interface

Setting up Windows 365 is a complex and tedious process. It is better to leave it to the Professional IT managers in your organization. Being a fully managed service, IT admin play a significant role in setting up, assigning, and configuring Windows 365 cloud PC using Microsoft Endpoint Manager. However, Microsoft has assured that deploying Windows 365 will be a relatively easy and seamless process for IT managers.

One of the features known so far about Windows 365 is the ability of the specs of Cloud PC for matching it with the device in use. As per Microsoft, this feature is specifically designed to assist organizations in dedicating the right amount of resources to different users after considering their requirements.

Besides, there will be a “Resource Performance Score” for every virtual PC assigned, giving IT admins a fair idea about the performance of every cloud PC. If the score decreases for a specific PC, admins can add additional RAM, CPU cores, or storage resources.

Microsoft announced that Windows 365 Cloud PC would be much easier to set up for admins and relatively easy for remote workers to use. By bridging the necessity to set up a Remote Desktop environment in the Azure cloud, Cloud PC becomes much easier to deploy.

Windows 365 Configurations

You can define the performance of Cloud PC based on the per-user-assigned licensing options through the Microsoft 365 Admin center portal. The process is similar to what you might have encountered previously to assign other Microsoft licenses like Microsoft 365 E3/E5.

Windows 365 Cloud PC offers different licenses to reflect multiple VM sizes. It gives you the liberty to deploy powerful Windows 365 to remote workers.

As of now, Windows 365 will be made available in two versions Business and Enterprise. Microsoft will offer 12 configurations for both editions. Here is the list.

CM/OS Disk SizeExample Scenario Recommended Apps
1vCPU / 2GB / 64GBFrontline workers, Call centers, Education/training/CRM access.Office light (web-based), Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, lightweight line-of-business app (e.g. call center application – web-apps), Defender support.
2vCPU / 4GB / 64GB 2vCPU / 4GB / 128GB 2vCPU / 4GB / 256GBMergers and acquisition, Short-term and seasonal, Customer Services, Bring-Your-Own-PC, Work from home.Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Teams (audio-only), Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Adobe Reader, Edge, Line-of-business app(s), Defender support.  
2vCPU / 8GB / 128GB 2vCPU / 8GB / 256GBBring-Your-Own-PC, Work from home, Market Researchers, Government, consultants.  Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Adobe Reader, Edge, Line-of-business app(s), Defender support.
4vCPU / 16GB / 128GB 4vCPU / 16GB / 256GB 4vCPU / 16GB / 512GBFinance, Government, consultants, Healthcare services, Bring-Your-Own-PC, Work from home.Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Power BI, Dynamics 365, OneDrive, Adobe Reader, Edge, Line-of-business app(s), Defender support.
8vCPU / 32GB / 128GB 8vCPU / 32GB / 256GB 8vCPU / 32GB / 512GBSoftware developers, engineers, Content Creators, Design and Engineering workstations.Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Access, OneDrive, Adobe Reader, Edge, Power BI, Visual Studio Code, Line-of-business app(s), Defender support.
Reference: Microsoft Tech Community
Windows Cloud PC Consulting

Windows 365 Security

Cybersecurity is a pressing issue for many organizations, especially when the staff is working from home. Microsoft has paid particular attention to the security of Windows 365, so they built it on a Zero Trust Architecture. Additionally, the admin and user experience revolves around the principle of least privileged access.

Windows 365 never stores the user information and data on the device; everything is stored on the cloud using broad-spectrum encryption. Everything from all managed disks running Windows 365, all data, and all the network traffic to and from the Cloud PC are end-to-end encrypted. Therefore, users can access Windows 365 services safely from any device and any location.

IT managers get the authority to add another layer of security by activating Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and password-less authentication. It explicitly works to verify the login or accessing attempts through Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) integration. If needed, organizations can use Microsoft Defender as it works seamlessly with the Cloud PC.

Windows Features for Integration and Environment

Technical Requirements to Run Windows 365

Microsoft has recently introduced Windows 365; it has not been launched yet. Besides, Microsoft has not officially declared the specifications to run windows 365. However, any device that can run a web browser will act as a Windows 365 endpoint.

Windows 365 will run on all laptops, desktops running on Windows 10 and 11 operating systems. It will also run on Mac devices (including those with native silicon), Linux Machines, iPhones, iPads, and all Android devices.

To use Windows 365, you need to have the following requirements.

To use Windows 365, you need to have the following requirements.

  • License Requirements:
    • Businesses with Windows Pro endpoints: Windows 10 Enterprise E3 + EMS E3 or Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5/BP.
    • Businesses without Windows Pro endpoints: Windows VDA E3 + EMS E3 or Microsoft 365 F3/E3/F5/BP.
  • Azure subscription
    • Subscription owner can run Windows 365 Cloud PC provided they set up a network connection.
  • Virtual Network (vNET) in Azure subscription
    • Route Azure vNET virtual Network to a DNS server for resolving Active Directory and recording either on-premises or on Azure
  • To capture the hybrid identity in Azure AD, ensure the AD is in sync with Azure AD.
  • Users having Microsoft Intune-supported licenses (e.g., Microsoft 365 E3) can run Windows 365 Cloud PC.
    • Intune Service Admin can opt for Cloud PC without any hassles.

Windows 365 Cloud PC Pricing

Microsoft announced its new Windows 365 service on 14th July 2021. During the announcement, Microsoft has not discussed its pricing structure. Maybe to keep the excitement burning until its launch on 2nd August 2021. However, Microsoft did reveal the Windows 365 pricing option inadvertently. Accordingly, businesses can use virtual windows or Cloud PC for $31 per user per month.

For the $31 option, Microsoft will be offering two CPUs – 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. According to what we know, this is an option available for businesses having less than 300 overall users.

Microsoft will also be offering a single CPU, 2GB RAM, and GB of storage; hence, it is clear that $31 is not expected to be the lowest-priced option for Windows 365. Besides, we do not have a clear idea if Microsoft will implement different pricing options for Business and Enterprise editions. Also, we need to wait to find out if a discount is in the kitty for larger organizations having thousands of employees.

Please remember, this Windows 365 pricing option is just for a single SKU. On the other side, Microsoft ensured more configurations in the pipeline, apart from the one above. We expect each configuration or SKU will carry a different price tag. Nevertheless, we will come to know the Windows 365 pricing options for all SKUs when it becomes generally available on 2nd August.

Benefits of Windows 365 Cloud PC

By introducing Cloud PC, Microsoft has tapped the opportunities in the hybrid personal computing space. By accessing the operating system directly from the cloud, it will become easier for users to turn any device into their personalized, productive, and digital workspace.

Windows 365 is designed to help employers solve challenges they faced during and before the Pandemic. It allows workers to work seamlessly from remote locations, ensuring the safety of the enterprise data.

Features of Windows 365

Microsoft Summarizes Windows 365 advantages in three main categories,

Powerful:

Users can instantly boot their cloud PC and stream all their applications, data, and settings directly from the cloud on the device of their choice. It also offers a variety related to processing power and storage to empower IT managers to scale up and scale down depending on user needs.

Simple:

Windows 365 offers the liberty to log off any moment and pick back from where they logged off, even if they change the device. By delivering full PC experience delivered through the cloud, it takes control of simplified deployment, update, and management. Producing, deploying, and managing Cloud PC offers similar ease for small as well as large businesses. The IT managers can set up Cloud PCs in few clicks and opt for additional licenses on the go.

Secure:

Designed on the principles of Zero Trust and powered by the security architecture of Microsoft Azure, Windows 365 is the safest and most compliant cloud PC service until now. It stores all the information and user’s data on the cloud to ensure the full safety and integrity of the data. The rich Microsoft Security capabilities and compliance baseline simplify the security and safety of the service.

Microsoft Windows 365 will be made available from 2nd August 2021. In the meantime, you can visit this link to get more relevant information. EPC Group is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and is in the business of providing Microsoft Consulting Services for more than 24 years. Keep an eye on this space for the latest updates in Windows 365 Cloud PC.

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