Microsoft is projecting Windows 10 as the best integrated platform for the enterprise segment. So, what does Windows 10 offer to the enterprises especially for CIOs and CIOSs? Is Windows 10 finally enterprise ready? Let’s find out!
There is so much of excitement and speculation over the technical preview of Windows 10 from Microsoft. Even though there is a lot of hype recently over the Windows 10 operating system after Microsoft released technical details about it, several CIOs and CISOs are still wondering whether Windows 10 is the right choice for their organizations. In-fact the long awaited launch of the operating system is due in the later part of this year end.
Enterprises all over the world have widely adapted Windows 7; but Windows 8 and 8.1 has been a failure to the enterprise users. With the release of latest technical preview of Windows 10 on January 23, 2015, it is evolving into product and is scheduled to be released by the end of this year. While it was reported that several of the Windows 10 features and updates are focused on the business concerns and for the enterprise users, there needs to be a real-time review by the beta-testers and enterprise-users approval. With the Microsoft’s promise of new common interface between multiple devices such as desktop computer, notebook computer, tablets and smart phone devices — will the organizations and enterprise heads (CIOs and CISOs) take decisions to migrate to Windows 10? What needs to be seen is whether the introduction of Windows 10 in the year-end helps in addressing the business concerns with new features designed and integrated to enhance the productivity of enterprise users.
Windows 10 Features for Enterprises
Let’s have a look at some of the Windows 10 features which would enhance the productivity of enterprise users in order to help the CIOs and CISOs.
Advanced Command Prompt
The Windows DOS command prompt has by large has more or less changes from past several Windows release. While the traditional DOS features are no longer used, the DOS command window and shell is still used by several programmers and non programmers for scripting and PowerShell.The Windows DOS command prompt has by large has more or less changes from past several Windows release. While the traditional DOS features are no longer used, the DOS command window and shell is still used by several programmers and non programmers for scripting and PowerShell.
One feature that is new in Windows 10 Command Prompt is the true Copy and Paste (Ctrl + ‘C’ & Ctrl + ‘V’) shortcuts added to the command window. Even though this is not a true enterprise feature, it would really be a boon for programmers or administrators in the enterprises because of the ease of copy/paste being implemented in Windows 10.
Faster Windows Upgrade
Several Large companies follow the process of re-imaging the existing computer before a new Operating System is installed and also a fresh image copy of the installed new operating system is taken for safe back-up of end-user data and installed softwares. However, sometimes due to the complexity of several installed softwares and concerns of the end-user – image-copy of all the computers cannot be taken in a large enterprise organization.
In such cases, the OS has to be upgraded to migrate to a new OS without any inconvenience to the end-users. It is here that Windows 10 provides the improvised upgrade process which preserves the existing management infrastructure in addition to the upgrade process.
From the aspect of CISOs requirements, Windows 10 provides the enterprise users with enhanced security. Windows 10 protects the users from Identity theft and phishing attacks without causing any inconvenience to the users. Windows 10 introduces the new feature of providing individual identity for each user for accessing applications, websites and devices. This concept of security is similar to the two-factor authentication process which is designed to secure the systems by using two levels of authentication for granting access. This concept of two-factor security is now built-in to the Windows 10 operating system without the need for any additional software or hardware.
In Windows 10, the existing Windows Bitlocker storage security feature has also been upgraded. The Bitlocker protection is now extended beyond the existing hard-disk storage to every other device or storage platform where the data is exchanged across like notebook, desktop computer, tablet, or even in cloud storage.
Enterprise Specific – Business App Store
Microsoft is working on the concept of an app store that is exclusive to the enterprises or business users. The intended business app store will be available for single and volume purchases for the employees. In the enterprise, system administrators will be able to restrict which apps can be available to the employees.
The new business app store is capable of providing flexible distribution system with various options that includes corporate license management. All these would be available from an exclusive app store that is customized for each enterprise company. In Windows 10, Microsoft is also introducing universal apps that can be executed seamlessly across any device like tablet or PC alike. This is done by enabling the native tablet applications so that apps can be executed in a PC in a window border where by apps can fit the existing screen of the tablet or PC.
Bringing Back the ‘Start’ Menu
For the enterprise users, the return of the ‘Start’ menu in Windows 10 is certainly a welcome move because it becomes easier for the CIOs to deploy the new operating system with the ‘Start’ menu and retain the traditional interface that users are familiar from many years. For instance, if the start menu is missing one can only imagine the hardships each user has to go through if a user wants to shut-down the computer or to execute simple tasks. For ITs, it is crucial for retaining the users under a specified platform which provides the users with easy access without the need to have them learn basic operating system and train them to learn simpler tasks.
Multi-Device Management Options
As far as device management is concerned, Microsoft has always followed two different management approaches. Based on Active Directory and Group Policy, Microsoft has supported the desktop, notebook and the laptop and a more rationalized approach Mobile Device Management (MDM) for the smart-phone and table devices.
Instead of dealing the two way device management in distinct silos, Windows 10 allows the user to decide between Mobile Device Management or the traditional Active Directory and Group Policy model on any device of their choice with the new operating system. This new device management approach is based to give the mobility a priority rather than the age-old static PC. This also provides various functionalities such as robust control over mobile devices and the capability to restrict or reset applications on the desktop computer.
Flexible Desktop & Tablet Adoptability
The earlier Windows 8 version had a single interface for multiple hardware platforms which included various input devices for desktops and tablets. As a result of this mono interface, the user experience was dull because the interface that worked for a touch screen in a tablet did not translate to the traditional keyboard and mouse used in a PC.
However, with the Windows 10 the users will have the converged windows experience with adaptable desktop & tablet user interface. When Windows 10 is installed on the desktop, it provides the age-old ‘Start’ menu along with a slight influence of the live tiles. But, when Windows 10 is installed on a tablet, the live tile interface provides the touch screen interface to the users. So, a single version of Windows 10 can adopt to the given hardware that it is on and even change between the two as needed. In other words, when Windows 10 is installed on a tab, the user interface can change from tablet (touch-screen) mode to desktop mode when the user plugs in a keyboard and mouse.
Advanced Windows Update
In previous versions of Windows, a user had always a fewer options with the Windows Update with respect to quantity and the frequent number of updates. As a result of this, users would be struggling to determine what Microsoft updates are released and what possible impact they may cause to the operating system and other softwares. Usually, for larger enterprises, a Windows Server Update Server (WSUS) allows business users to decide and control which patches are installed, and the frequency in which they are installed. In Windows 10, part of this functionality is now incorporated to provide users to assist the ‘Windows Update’ process smoothly. The frequency and criticality of these patches can now be adjusted in Windows 10 to follow a more aggressive consumer speed. This is achieved with a reserved critical business application approach with fewer updates, or an in-between option for a balanced approach. However, the new ‘Windows 10 Update’ option should not be seen as a replacement for WSUS for large enterprises, rather this option is intended for the business users that do not have the ability or resources to run WSUS.
The Road Ahead
Windows 10 as an operating system is undergoing transformations in its design and concept. As far as the enterprise users are concerned, Microsoft needs to completely remove the deficiency of its earlier operating systems — Windows 8 and 8.1 in order to provide a better user interface for the business segment.
While Microsoft has addressed some of the concerns of enterprises with respect to its earlier versions and reworked on it along with a set of new features, we can only wait for the time to tell whether it is finally enterprise ready. As we all know how Microsoft releases critical information on its operating system, several CIOs are still opt for wait and watch policy over the deployment of Windows 10 in enterprises. Considering the much awaited time for the official launch of Windows 10 and also the hardware and software changes that are bound to happen, several CIOs would also see whether there is real value for the enterprise in adopting Windows 10. On the other side, while Windows 10 offers consistent user experience across Windows devices and other given features, CIOs may also opt for ‘must have’ stance in the future.
With updates to the technical preview expected to come every four to six weeks, it is far too early to come to a conclusion about Windows 10 for business from a complete perspective. In future, every organizations and enterprise users will be keen on what Microsoft discloses about packaging, prices, upgrades, or downgrades of Windows 10 (even though Microsoft may reveal these information in bits and pieces as a strategic business policy).
Meanwhile, have you worked on the beta version of Windows 10? What are your views on the new operating system? As a CIO or CISO or an enterprise user, what are your expectations from Windows 10? Do let us know by expressing your views in the comment section.
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