A few weeks after unveiling Windows 11, Microsoft announced Windows 365. It’s a cloud computing service that lets you stream a Windows machine to any suitable device with an internet connection. Whether it’s on another PC, tablet, or smartphone, you can access your virtual computer from anywhere.
This service is a part of Microsoft’s push to get into the emerging hybrid work setup. But how does it work, and who exactly is it for?
Windows 365: A Hybrid Windows for a Hybrid World
As work moved away from the office, there has been an ever-increasing need for cloud-based solutions. From using free online collaboration tools to video conferencing software, companies needed to empower their people as they worked.
Enter Windows 365. Windows 365 gives you the wheel to a cloud PC and allows you to access your work computer via the cloud. What it means is that any device you have, whether it’s an office-issued laptop or your personal tablet, can stream your work computer via a browser.
You may ask yourself, “Why would I want to stream a computer to my computer?” But there’s more to it than that.
Going Cross-Device Using a Cloud PC
Say you’re working at home, using your laptop to access your company cloud PC. Then you had to leave your home, either to go into the office or just to grab a coffee at the local shop. Instead of lugging your laptop along, you can bring your tablet instead. This would already save you some weight as most tablets are a lot lighter than a typical laptop.
And then, when you’re settled outside of home, you can access your company cloud PC on your mobile device. Even if you open it on your tablet’s browser, its performance is the same as when you were on your laptop. Furthermore, when you open the cloud PC on your tablet, you’ll see it in the same state you left it on your laptop.
Using a Cloud PC to Access Specialist Hardware
Here’s another use case for it. Say you’re a 3D modeler working on petabytes of data on your office workstation. If you need to work from home, you cannot do your work on your personal laptop. It neither has the storage nor computing capacity to execute what you need.
With Windows 365, you could have the same power as your office workstation at home. This is because the computing power is housed at Microsoft’s servers. All your doing is accessing it via your personal device.
Using a Cloud PC’s Internet Connection Over Your Own
Another advantage of Windows 365 is blazing fast internet. Since you’re essentially streaming the monitor of the cloud PC, all the files you need are located at the server. So, when you download large data from any source, you’re not downloading to the computer at your location. Instead, you’re downloading it to Microsoft’s data centers.
Because of that, downloads only take an instant. Microsoft even demonstrated a speed test. In their run, they could get download speeds of up to 10 GBPS and upload speeds of up to 4 GBPS.
How Windows 365 Benefits IT Administrators
Windows 365 is designed to make the IT administrator’s life easier. They no longer have to set up and maintain network and software infrastructure, because they can manage all users and devices through the Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM).
Using MEM, the administrator can manage both physical and virtual devices in one app. They can deploy software, add virtual machines, and even upgrade capacity through it. Administrators can also see how much computing power each member uses. This lets them allocate resources as needed.
Onboarding a new team member no longer requires a lot of effort from administrators. They only need to ensure the new member is part of the enterprise network. And if they have an available license, they can immediately assign a virtual PC to that person. And in less than an hour, they’ll have a new Windows 365 account assigned to them.
And should you need a more powerful computer, all the administrator needs to do is assign a better system using MEM. You no longer have to wait for someone to buy you a physical PC. On the flip side, if you’re not maximizing your virtual PC, your administrator could lower its specifications. This ensures that no extra computing power is wasted.
Network performance monitoring is also built inside Windows 365. Because the service is run from Microsoft’s servers, they can continuously check and run diagnostics on your system. If they detect a failure, the administrator is alerted immediately. They would also give recommendations on how to correct the issue.
Windows 365 Provides Even Better Security
Because the cloud PC is not directly installed on your device, it’s inherently more secure. This is because only administrators have complete control over it. As you’re accessing it over a browser or app, it’s insulated from most threats.
To protect company data, administrators can set up multi-factor authentication and conditional access. This ensures that only authorized users are actually accessing the system.
Who Is Windows 365 For?
Windows 365 isn’t designed for the consumer market. Instead, it’s for companies and enterprises that need to deploy a network over a large area. It’s also designed to allow businesses to utilize computing power as they see fit.
The cloud PC will revolutionize business computing. Companies no longer need to spend on high-end systems to satisfy the needs of their people. They only need a reliable internet connection and an entry-level computer as a client to Windows 365.
Best of all, businesses can subscribe to this service monthly. They don’t have to invest large sums to get computers that they might not use 100 percent of the time. With the cloud PC, they can purchase computing power as they need. This allows them to be more efficient with the use of their resources.
Is Windows 365 the Future of Enterprise Computing?
Many developers, including Microsoft, are now moving to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model. Some find this unfavorable because they’re used to paying for programs once. However, SaaS allows businesses to avail of software as they need it. This will enable companies to make more efficient use of their resources.
With Windows 365, Microsoft takes this business model up a notch. They now offer hardware capability as a subscription service. Businesses can forgo investing in expensive infrastructure and equipment. After all, if they need additional network and computing power, all they need to do is to rent it from Microsoft.
A New Windows Service for a New World of Work
As the world moves to a hybrid workplace, Microsoft is aiming to adapt to it with Windows 365. Cloud computing has its own strengths, and perhaps Microsoft’s newest service will help introduce hardware-as-a-service as a new norm.
Windows 365 is ideal for people who enjoy to WFH. And if you don’t know what “WFH” means, it’s time to catch up on how this acronym is seeping into our vocabulary in recent months.
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