Windows 365 Cloud PC and Microsoft Dev Box – A Detailed Comparison

Every business is constantly looking for ways to improve operations, maximize efficiency, and as a result increase revenues. These are precisely the kinds of objectives that cloud solutions can help you meet. They enable businesses to access the computing resources they need when they need them.

Not only do you get excellent computing resources but it also allows you to work remotely whenever it’s convenient for you. In a world where cybercrime is on the rise and physical devices are at risk, cloud services offer an excellent solution that is always available.

With the Windows 365 Cloud PC and the Microsoft Dev Box, Microsoft offers businesses powerful virtual workstations that employees can access from anywhere on any device. These two, however, have their similarities as well as differences. In this article, we shall be doing a comparison of these two services to help you decide which one is most ideal for your business.

Introduction

WINDOWS 365 CLOUD PC

Let’s start with an introduction to both of these services so that we know exactly what they are. The first service is Windows 365 Cloud PC, a virtualization service introduced by Microsoft in 2021. This platform enables individuals to stream their Windows 10 or 11 desktop, applications, various settings, and content from the Microsoft Cloud to any chosen device they prefer.

As an organization, this means that your workers can experience the full Windows ecosystem using personal or corporate devices. Cloud PCs offer a secure environment to store apps, files, and documents. Users can access them anytime and on any device with an internet connection. These kinds of features bring a whole new meaning to the term “portable device.”

The service is easy enough to use. Just purchase a subscription to begin. You can then remotely access a Windows desktop in any modern web browser. Once you have your subscription, you can link Windows 365 to an existing Microsoft account. From there, all your apps, tools, data, and settings will become readily accessible at any time.

Cloud PCs provide you with a consistent experience across any device. This thereby helps users to maintain work efficiency even when working remotely. So, imagine you are working on a project with several application windows open and you suddenly disconnect. The exact same state will restore when you reconnect, regardless of whether you’re using the same device.

MICROSOFT DEV BOX

The Microsoft Dev Box is another virtual computing service from the same tech giant that became generally available in 2023. This particular service was built on the foundation of Windows 365 and was designed specifically with developers in mind. It is meant to help them become more productive by giving them speed and productivity.

What developers get with this solution is access to ready-to-code cloud workstations called dev boxes. These workstations deal with the hardware and onboarding challenges that developers have had to deal with for years.

Dev boxes are configurable with tools, source code, and prebuilt binaries. These are specific to a project, thereby allowing developers to start work as soon as they want.

Comparing cloud services

When trying to decide which cloud solution your business should opt for, it can be a little tricky. First, you need to fully understand what you get from the Windows 365 Cloud PC as well as the Microsoft Dev Box. These two options have several similarities. However, they present different design features for unique user bases.

Again, dev boxes are powerful, pre-configured workstations that allow developers to tackle their tasks almost immediately. Because they are self-service and come ready-to-code, dev boxes eliminate the usual delays that you often face with onboarding.

On the other hand, Windows 365 targets multiple different users and allows them to stream a personalized Windows experience to any device.

Although Dev Box has been built specifically for developers, dev teams are not obliged to use it. Additionally, they can opt for the Windows 365 Cloud PC if they want. Regardless of which you select, you’ll still benefit from the use of Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Intune. And expect to maximize security, compliance, and cost efficiency.

But, the high-performance aspect of dev boxes, among other features, means they will be the ideal option for developer teams. This doesn’t take anything away from the Cloud PC. It still offers businesses virtual desktops that can be set up quickly. Also, they have multiple configurations and can handle various scenarios and workloads.

The multitude of features that Cloud PCs offer mean that businesses can also use them for development purposes. So, if high-performance and self-service access are not prerequisites for your dev teams’ purposes, then Windows 365 could work just fine for you.

Pricing

Another point in favor of Windows 365 is that it will give you predictable per-user/per-month pricing as we can see in the tables given below.

 Windows 365 BusinessWindows 365 Enterprise
Basic$31/month and provides support for up to 300 users. This option allows you to run light productivity tools and web browsers. Clients will get 2vCPU, 4GB RAM, and 128 GB Storage.$31/month and provides support for unlimited users. This option allows you to run light productivity tools and web browsers. Clients will get 2vCPU, 4GB RAM, and 128 GB Storage.
Standard$41/month and also supports up to 300 users. Clients will get 2vCPU, 8GB, and 128 GB of storage allowing you to run a full range of productivity tools and line-of-business apps.$41/month and also supports an unlimited number of users. Clients will get 2vCPU, 8GB, and 128 GB of storage allowing you to run a full range of productivity tools and line-of-business apps.
Premium$66/month and comes with access to 4vCPU, 16 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. With this option, you get support for up to 300 users and can run high-performance workloads and heavier data processing.$66/month and gives you access to 4vCPU, 16 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. With this option, you get support for an unlimited number of users and can run high-performance workloads and heavier data processing.

Sku

    SKUPricing per Dev Box instance   Max Monthly Price    Hourly Compute    Monthly Storage
8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 256 GB Storage    $138.20$1.49$19
8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 512 GB Storage$157.20          $1.49$38
8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 1024 GB Storag$195.20$1.49$76
8 vCPU, 32 GB RAM, 2048 GB Storage$271.20$1.49$152
16 vCPU, 64 GB RAM, 256 GB Storage$257.40$2.98$19
16 vCPU, 64 GB RAM, 512 GB Storage        $276.40$2.98$38
16 vCPU, 64 GB RAM, 1024 GB Storage$314.40$2.98$76
16 vCPU, 64 GB RAM, 2048 GB Storage$390.40$2.98$152
32 vCPU, 128 GB RAM, 512 GB Storage$514.80$5.96$38
32 vCPU, 128 GB RAM, 1024 GB Storage$552.80$5.96$76
32 vCPU, 128 GB RAM, 2048 GB Storage$628.80$5.96$152

Having gone over all the above information, however, Dev Box remains unquestionably the best option. This is especially true for development teams that require high-performance workstations. Also, it’s great for teams who need solutions tailored to their specific projects, self-deployed by developers, and ready-to-code on deployment.

Requirements

For businesses intending to use Windows 365, they will need Intune licenses if they want to manage their devices using Intune. If you’re signing up for Windows 365 Enterprise, then the users should have licenses for Windows E3, Intune, Microsoft Entra ID P1, and Windows 365 to use their Cloud PC.

Alternatively, if you’re signing up for Windows 365 Frontline, users must have licenses for Windows E3, Intune, and Microsoft Entra ID P1. This is in addition to being added to the Microsoft Entra security group in the provisioning policy to use their Cloud PC.

Those interested in using Microsoft Dev Box will also need to meet certain requirements. Each user needs to be licensed for Windows 11 Enterprise or Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Azure Active Directory P1.

Although clients can obtain these independently, you will also find these licenses included in Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 A3, Microsoft 365 A5, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and Microsoft 365 Education Student Use Benefit subscriptions.

Common features

Remote access

A lot of organizations are adapting to the idea of a more hybrid workforce because of the increased convenience and access that cloud services can offer. With workstations being hosted on the Microsoft Cloud, workers can access their PCs from anywhere. And it’s brilliantly efficient, as long as they have an internet connection.

Cloud PCs and dev boxes utilize the same infrastructure, enabling users to enjoy excellent remote accessibility. This level of access can revolutionize virtualization technology by freeing workers from being limited to their workstations or specific locations and devices.

This is great development for both businesses and workers alike. Especially if we consider a Microsoft survey that showed that 73% of workers would be interested in working remotely if the option was available. So, if Windows 365 and Dev Box can provide the platform to do that then it would be well worth adopting.

QUICK SETUP

When Windows 365 was first announced, one of the biggest features was ease of use and setup. Businesses don’t need to bring in additional or specialist IT professionals to configure their Cloud PC environments. In-house IT departments can take won’t need days to have users set up with Cloud PCs.

Therefore, once a new employee starts, they will have access to a Cloud PC almost as soon as they need it. Because Dev Box is built on the foundation of Windows 365, it follows the same concept of simplicity and ease of use. Microsoft is offering developer teams ready-to-code workstations, enabling them to start work immediately.

Developers will get the full complement of tools, source code, and prebuilt binaries. As a result, you won’t need to wait weeks or more to begin contributing to the projects that your colleagues are working on.

SECURITY

Keeping data secure is a very high priority for Windows 365. And this is why Cloud PCs are kept up to date with the latest cumulative updates. Wherever an individual may be working, data security exists. Microsoft also recommends using Conditional Access to secure end user access to Windows 365.

If businesses use this as well as multi-factor authentication for all their users, then it becomes significantly less likely that nefarious actors could gain access to organizational resources. Similarly, Microsoft has ensured that robust security measures are extended to the Dev Box. Businesses can enhance security by joining dev boxes natively to their Azure Active Directory, or even to a hybrid Azure Active Directory domain.

Additionally, they can utilize features such as conditional access and multi-factor authentication in the same way they have been doing with other products and services in the Microsoft ecosystem.

COMPATIBILITY

Another thing that was crucial for Microsoft to attract clients to the Cloud PC was compatibility. Oftentimes, new services will come with strict hardware requirements that can necessitate significant spending on new devices. Not so with Windows 365. Users can comfortably access their Cloud PCs using whatever devices they prefer.

Although you will get the best experience from using a PC, the choice remains yours whether you use a Windows device or a Mac, an Android device or one running iOS. Developer teams that want to use Dev Box will also benefit from similar compatibility. Businesses don’t need to furnish employees with new devices or worry about changing operating systems.

Dev Box users can get all their favorite productivity software and custom line-of-business tools regardless of the platform they are working on. Not only will this feature help minimize hardware expenditure, but it could potentially improve productivity because developers can use the devices and other tools they are most comfortable with.

SUSTAINABILITY

Plenty of businesses are putting in place measures to help them operate more sustainably and do what they can for the betterment of the planet. As a responsible organization, Microsoft has committed to becoming carbon negative by the year 2030 as well as putting in place measures to eliminate all the carbon that the organization has emitted directly or by electricity consumption since its foundation by the year 2050.

Services like Windows 365 and Dev Box can play a mission-critical role in achieving these goals. With workstations that run on the cloud, users can keep their devices for longer which is something that can contribute to a reduction in e-waste.

Moreover, using cloud solutions can do even more for long-term sustainability with some research suggesting that migrating to the cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 60 million tons per year.

Access simplified

Arguably the biggest goal of cloud-based solutions has been to facilitate easier access for clients using various devices and operating systems. Windows 365 and Dev Box are at the forefront of what Microsoft has been doing in the cloud technology space. But, it doesn’t simply end with these solutions.

Microsoft has just recently announced the Windows App which is going to be the gateway to many Windows services that are available to businesses. This new offering has been designed to allow the use of almost any device on any platform.

Not surprisingly, this will be the source of great excitement for a lot of Cloud PC and Dev Box users. If you happen to be one of the unfortunate people who till now have been forced to use certain devices or operating systems, then Windows App will give you the freedom many sorely desire. Because of the way it has been designed, users will be able to run Windows on their devices of choice.

So, whether we’re talking Macs, devices running Linux, Android, etc, the beauty of this service is that it will still give you secure access to Microsoft’s remote services. And something that we are all going to enjoy is using web browsers to connect to remote services.

CONNECTING TO YOUR CLOUD PC

If you want to use a web browser to connect to your Cloud PC from Windows 365, all you have to do is:

  • Open your web browser and navigate to https://windows.cloud.microsoft.
  • Sign in with your user account.
  • If it’s your first time using Windows App, navigate through the tour to learn more about Windows App, then select Done, or select Skip.
  • From the Home tab, select Go to devices.
  • At this stage, you are going to see all the Cloud PCs you have from Windows 365 as well as all the other remote resources you have access to. If no Cloud PCs are appearing then you’ll want to contact your administrator.
  • Next, locate the Cloud PC you want to connect to. You can use the available filters to help you find exactly what you need to connect to.
  • Select Connect. A new tab or browser window opens for that device or app.
  • You’re going to see a prompt displaying In Session Settings that will ask you to confirm which local devices or features to use with your Cloud PC. After making your decision, select Connect. You can avoid seeing this prompt every time you connect by checking the Don’t show again box
  • As soon as the connection to your Cloud PC is complete, you can start using it.

CONNECTING TO YOUR DEV BOX

If you want to use a web browser to connect to your dev box from Microsoft Dev Box, all you have to do is:

  • Open your web browser and navigate to https://windows.cloud.microsoft.
  • Sign in with your user account.
  • If it’s your first time using Windows App, navigate through the tour to learn more about Windows App, then select Done, or select Skip.
  • From the Home tab, select Go to devices.
  • At this stage, you are going to see all the dev boxes you have from Microsoft Dev Box as well as all the other remote resources you have access to. If no dev boxes are appearing then you’ll want to contact your administrator.
  • Next, locate the dev box you want to connect to. You can use the available filters to help you find exactly what you need to connect to.
  • Select Connect. A new tab or browser window opens for that dev box.
  • You’re going to see a prompt displaying In Session Settings that will ask you to confirm which local devices or features to use with your Dev box. After making your decision, select Connect. You can avoid seeing this prompt every time you connect by checking the Don’t show again box.
  • As soon as the connection to your dev box is complete, you can start using it.

Wrap up

The future of cloud-based services is bound to have plenty of innovative solutions that will help enhance even further the way businesses interact with technology. Businesses can already benefit from the convenience of having access to powerful virtual workstations without the need to set up their own in-house servers. Microsoft Cloud services provide businesses with solutions such as Windows 365 Cloud PC and Microsoft Dev Box that offer exceptional performance as well as high availability.

Additionally, these cloud services can meet you wherever you are in your journey. There are options available that are tailored to smaller businesses just like you have options for larger businesses. And as you continue to grow, you’ll have the flexibility to scale at a rate that is ideal for your business. So, whether it’s the Cloud PC or the Dev Box that fits your business model better, you can be certain that both will deliver industry-leading technology and world-class service.

Run Legacy Applications with Ease using Windows 365

Businesses tend not to want to implement too many changes to the way they do things when they are already doing very well. As such, this can pose a major stumbling block to the adoption of new products and services.

Migrating to the cloud is something that raises several concerns for businesses. So Windows 365 wants to offer a secure and reliable experience that can alleviate those concerns. It is an easy-to-use virtual desktop environment that also supports legacy applications ensuring that you won’t need to make changes that you are unwilling to make.

You can continue running your preferred applications without worrying about compatibility issues. With that in mind, let’s go over some of those legacy application support features.

Legacy Application Support Features of Windows 365

To allow businesses to use the legacy applications that have been most effective for them, Windows 365 provides users with several legacy application support features. Below are some of these key features:

Compatibility with Older Operating Systems

Newer and more advanced products and services can have significant benefits for most businesses. However, many are not always open to change for plenty of reasons. The potential cost of implementing new systems is one of the main reasons why companies may be hesitant.

But, Windows 365 is built to try and reduce IT expenditure by offering features such as compatibility with older operating systems. This means that your business can continue to use the software programs that you are comfortable with and that brings the most productivity.

Additionally, you don’t need to worry about the time that may be required to train your staff to use new applications. So, what Windows 365 can then offer you are all the benefits of running your desktops on the cloud. And you can do so without completely overhauling everything you currently use.

Another great thing about the compatibility feature is how it means that already overloaded IT departments will not have to deal with additional tasks. Once Cloud PCs have been set up, employees will have available to them the software programs they are familiar with so work can continue as normal.

Integration with Existing Infrastructure

As well as providing compatibility for applications that were running on older operating systems, Windows 365 also seamlessly integrates with existing infrastructure. The benefit of this is that you can continue with some of your legacy applications, without losing access to some of the more modern ones, as well.

As a result, you get the software programs you want and simultaneously benefit from the features of newer applications. Needless to say, the potential of such a setup is not only immense but very cost-effective.

Employees don’t need to have multiple devices running different operating systems to have all the applications they need. Even more importantly, however, this integration allows businesses that want to switch to newer applications to have sufficient time to make the transition.

Cloud PC users can use the software programs that they are familiar with while simultaneously learning about the newer versions. This will provide businesses with considerable flexibility to make gradual changes as they update their virtual desktop environment.

Compatibility with Older Hardware

Hardware limitations can be a massive factor that hinders businesses from migrating to the cloud. So, in some cases, if employees don’t have the latest, most powerful devices, they may not be able to use certain products and services. With Windows 365, this is not an issue because there is support for multiple devices and operating systems.

Consequently, Cloud PC users can stick with their current devices whenever they want to access their virtual desktops. They don’t necessarily need to worry about the specifications of their devices or the operating systems they are running.

As long as the device has either the Microsoft Remote Desktop app or an HTML5-capable browser to access the web, you can access your Cloud PC with no problems. Although Microsoft does clarify that Windows devices will provide the best experience, clients remain free to choose a platform of their choice.

Accordingly, businesses can immediately start preparing to set up their Windows 365 environment. And they can do so without the added concern about first furnishing employees with new devices. Undoubtedly this is something that has been designed to perfectly illustrate how easy using Windows 365 is meant to be.

Support for Multiple Environments

At this point, it’s becoming pretty clear that compatibility is a pretty big issue for Windows 365. Along with older operating systems and hardware, clients also get support for multiple environments. Naturally, you can expect a lot of businesses to have different setups that are tailored to their unique needs.

Therefore, it really should come as no surprise that Windows 365 supports various environments, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid setups. This gives your business the flexibility to design a virtual desktop environment that can adequately meet the needs of your operations.

Something like a hybrid setup can be hugely beneficial to businesses that are not willing as yet to migrate their entire environment to the cloud. It gives you the time to assess whether or not full cloud migration is the right thing for you. In addition to these different environments, Windows 365 is also compatible with multiple operating systems. It works with Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, among others.

It’s for this reason that most businesses can have access to the Windows 365 environment. Limitations are relatively few concerning the platforms that you may want to use. And there is great flexibility in how you operate.

Benefits of Windows 365’s Legacy Application Support

The features that we have discussed above have plenty of benefits that businesses can get concerning legacy application support. Some of these benefits are given below.

Cost Savings

Unquestionably, one of the biggest advantages that come with using Windows 365, is the potential to cut down on IT expenditure. From the get-go, Microsoft presents Windows 365 as a virtual desktop environment that you can set up on your own without additional IT personnel. This reduces the costs that you face when setting up your employees with Cloud PCs.

Also, maintaining the environment and handling any of the tasks will be easy enough for your in-house IT department. This means less time wasted waiting for IT support services, thus potentially increasing productivity.

Features like compatibility with older operating systems are also going to minimize your costs by eliminating the need to immediately change your OS. And the same thing will apply to the devices that Cloud PC users can utilize to access their virtual desktops.

As long as you have the appropriate application or browser, you can easily access your Cloud PC on your device of choice. Because employees can use any of the devices they already have, this can go a long way in reducing the cost of purchasing devices for new employees or refreshing devices now and again.

Improved Compatibility

Microsoft wants Windows 365 to be a solution that can assure clients they’re getting a product that fits seamlessly with their existing infrastructure. Businesses can leverage all the best that the Cloud PC has to offer without having to completely do away with the systems that have brought them this far.

It’s for this reason that Windows 365 provides compatibility on several different levels to address the concerns that you may currently have. And this helps provide employees with an easier transition to the new infrastructure.

So, whether you’re looking at hardware or software, Windows 365 gives you a level of compatibility that caters to your goals. You can get to have the Windows 365 experience with your Windows, Apple, or Android devices, among many others.

This is something that can be an excellent tool in enhancing how employees work and how IT departments increase efficiency. Additionally, businesses can expect to see fewer downtime issues from problems that may otherwise arise from compatibility challenges.

Greater Flexibility

In the same way that Windows legacy application support features can help you reduce IT expenditure, they will also improve flexibility. And this is vitally important considering how remote work and distributed workforces have become integral to the operations of a lot of businesses.

Many now want to have the flexible working conditions that they are now accustomed to as a permanent solution. Hence the need for platforms like Windows 365 that enable you to easily run legacy applications using your current devices.

Coupled with what employees stand to gain, the business as a whole has the flexibility to choose what devices or operating systems are best for improving efficiency. Windows 365 does not have stringent restrictions concerning which devices or operating systems you can use. So, you can choose the best devices on the market to suit the needs of your business. And you’ll be able to use them to access your virtual desktops without any problems.

Enhanced Productivity

Cloud computing presents businesses with a solution that aims to help improve productivity. With Windows 365, you are getting virtual desktops that are easily accessible from remote locations and facilitate collaboration among colleagues.

This means that employees can work from anywhere, making sure that projects are completed on time, even with people collaborating from different countries. Because of the support for multiple environments, operating in this manner becomes very easy to achieve. Not only that, but Windows 365 ensures that all communication and collaboration are extremely secure.

Something else that will help enhance productivity is the fact that Windows 365 can integrate with your existing infrastructure. Doing so enables you to adopt this solution without it costing you unacceptable amounts of downtime that could be used more productively. And we can say the same thing about the compatibility with older hardware.

Cloud PCs are easy to set up and deploy so that work continues seamlessly while simultaneously increasing efficiency. Furthermore, these features also help your business to swiftly adapt to any changes in the market. The regular updates that Windows 365 receives are perfect for ensuring that you always have the best features to potentially give you an edge over other businesses.

Increased Security

Most people will agree that plenty of businesses are reluctant to make the migration to the cloud because of a lack of trust in the security measures. There is a tendency to want to keep all data in-house so that it is kept secure.

And this is precisely why Windows 365 utilizes industry-leading security measures to keep clients’ data as secure as possible. Because of the support availed for multiple platforms, Windows 365 offers regular updates and security patches to maintain high levels of security.

And this, in turn, allows you to run your legacy applications easily with minimal concern about your data being compromised. Moreover, Windows 365 has several redundancies in the system. These ensure that regardless of what disaster you may encounter, your data should remain secure and accessible. Therefore, whether employees are in the office or working from remote locations, you can conduct business operations reliably and securely.

Conclusion

Arguably one of the biggest things that service providers would want to offer clients is a solution that can improve the ease of doing business. It’s these kinds of considerations that have brought about the legacy application support features that Windows 365 offers. They aim to improve accessibility and flexibility for businesses by enabling support for older software run on modern hardware without compatibility issues.

Because of this level of support as well as integration with existing infrastructure, businesses can boost productivity, improve security and efficiency, as well as minimize expenditure. All of these benefits should provide you with more than enough reason to think about making the migration to the cloud.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with Windows 365

The state of the environment is a massive topic of discussion all across the globe. Whether it’s in meetings bringing together world leaders or at business summits, the issue of how to reduce our impact on the environment is regularly on the agenda. This responsibility doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of politicians but on those of business leaders as well.

And when it comes to the IT industry, there is a great need to consider adopting more sustainable solutions. This is because of how this sector has contributed to carbon emissions from data centers, computing devices, and more. Hence the need for a solution like Windows 365.

With this service, customers get a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure solution designed to help reduce their carbon footprint. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at how Windows 365 can help you to operate more sustainably.

Energy Efficiency Features of Windows 365

To help various businesses meet their sustainability goals and reduce their carbon footprint, Microsoft has created several features for Windows 365. In this section, we’ll discuss some of those key energy efficiency features.

Cloud-Based Infrastructure

Many businesses envision attaining net-zero sustainability for their operations. Although this is a very ambitious goal, it is not out of reach with solutions like Windows 365. You only have to go through the Microsoft report on the carbon benefits of cloud computing to see how this may be possible.

According to that report, the Microsoft cloud can be anywhere between 22% and 93% more efficient than traditional data centers depending on the comparison. And this would undoubtedly be something that can contribute massively to help reduce your carbon footprint.

The most obvious area where you will see these benefits is with reduced energy consumption. On-premises data centers require a lot of energy to not only power them but cool them as well. So, by leveraging shared cloud infrastructure, such as what Microsoft is offering, you can put yourself in a great position to attain your net-zero targets.

Windows 365’s cloud-based virtual desktops also encourage remote work, and this is something that can potentially reduce transport emissions. Cloud PC users can work from anywhere without being restricted by location.

Dynamic Provisioning

Running a business efficiently requires you to have the computing resources you need at all times to maximize productivity. This is something that Windows 365 values greatly to adequately meet all customers’ needs. With the availability of dynamic provisioning, businesses can easily provision and de-provision virtual desktops as needed.

As you can imagine, this will help you to run your business more efficiently because you do not need to retain any resources that are in excess of requirements. However, if the need for more computing resources arises, you can add more Cloud PCs quite easily.

When running your own data center, you won’t necessarily have the same flexibility to increase or decrease your computing resources with the same ease. And this can be very costly not only financially but in terms of carbon emissions as well. A business with a larger data center than it needs will find it a lot more difficult to meet its sustainability goals. And it may actually increase its carbon footprint.

Automatic Scaling

The business environment can change very suddenly, and organizations need to have solutions available that can help them swiftly adapt. Windows 365 offers businesses automatic scaling to help improve how efficiently they can run their IT operations.

When we talk about scaling, we are simply referring to the ability to increase or decrease computing resources as needed. Because businesses are trying to implement measures to reduce their carbon footprint, having an automatic scaling feature available goes a long way to simplifying that task.

Windows 365 can automatically adjust the computing resources that virtual desktops have access to depending on their various usage needs. By automating this process, Cloud PC users can be more productive. This is because they will have the resources they need when they need them. In addition, by not over-provisioning computing resources, businesses can minimize energy waste. And this moves you closer toward running sustainable operations.

Power Management

The unfortunate reality is that there are plenty of businesses that waste power and are not even aware of it. Consequently, this means that you are unnecessarily spending more as well as increasing your carbon footprint.

Around offices, it’s not uncommon to see devices that are always on, regardless of whether or not they are in use. Some people won’t or may not even know how to set their devices to switch off after a certain amount of idle time.

Fortunately, for Cloud PC users, this is something that you will get assistance with. Windows 365 has power management capabilities that are designed to help businesses minimize the wastage of resources.

By enabling you to automatically power off virtual desktops that are not currently in use, you can easily reduce your energy consumption. This feature gives you an essential management solution. And it can be key to how you monitor energy use within your business.

Benefits of Windows 365’s Energy Efficiency Features

The energy efficiency features discussed in the previous section have several benefits that can be of great importance to your business. These include:

Reduced Energy Consumption

Every business wants to improve how it runs its operations and ultimately improve productivity. And one of the best things about putting in place measures to reduce your carbon footprint is that it allows you to pinpoint inefficiencies in your organization. Addressing issues such as wastage of energy will help create savings that can be invested in other areas.

Other features, such as automatically powering off idle devices, allow you to better assess energy use in your business. This may be an important determining factor if your business is considering scaling your computing resources.

Something else that businesses can benefit from operating more sustainably is increased brand equity. We find that in some studies, 55% of consumers have indicated a preference for products made by businesses that have implemented sustainable practices.

Therefore, reducing your carbon footprint will not only help you to meet your sustainable objectives, but it can boost business as well. And if that is not enough, then you also need to consider current and potential future legislation that may affect your business.

As mentioned earlier, climate change is a hot topic at all different levels. So a lot of regulations are changing, and you may risk finding yourself non-compliant.

Lower Operating Costs

Even if the climate change discussions aren’t something that you are particularly interested in, you cannot ignore solutions that may potentially lower your operating costs. With that in mind, the energy efficiency features of Windows 365 are certainly worth a look.

By providing you with a cloud-based virtual desktop environment, Windows 365 allows you to save costs on purchasing and refreshing devices for your employees. As long as an individual has a device with a modern browser, they can access their Cloud PC relatively easily from any location.

This increased flexibility will also boost operational efficiency and can potentially improve productivity. Additionally, with capabilities such as dynamic provisioning, your business constantly has the resources to operate optimally.

You don’t need to worry about paying for more than you need. This is because if your computing resources become inadequate, you can always scale up. Another recent update that will help reduce costs is the introduction of Windows 365 Frontline. This latest update allows users to share Cloud PCs, which is particularly beneficial for employees that work in shifts.

Improved Scalability

Scalability can prove to be a major challenge for businesses that operate their own data centers. Not only can this be a complex affair, but it’s often very costly. Windows 365 is built to simplify scalability for businesses, regardless of size.

You can easily provision or de-provision virtual desktops as and when they are needed. Having this capability means that scaling up or down your computing resources becomes a quick and easy solution without significant costs. It also means that whatever happens in your section of the market, you’ll be well-placed to swiftly adapt and gain an edge over other companies.

This can also help you grow your profits significantly, especially when compared to other businesses that may face huge costs when scaling. Furthermore, this improved scalability is great for smaller businesses that need to grow at a pace that does not compromise the quality of service.

Windows 365 has a subscription option targeted at smaller businesses that can be scaled up as operations expand. Taking advantage of a system like this is an excellent choice for the long-term because it is going to promote customer loyalty. Whenever you experience an increase in traffic, you can manage it efficiently while still delivering excellent service.

Increased Productivity

Using cloud-based virtual desktops allows more businesses access to technologies that were in the past only available to a few. The degree of accessibility and flexibility that Windows 365 provides enables businesses to run more efficient operations.

In addition to that, Cloud PC users can collaborate with greater ease from anywhere across the world on any number of projects. With the ease with which employees can do this, your business may experience higher levels of productivity.  No longer do you have to contend with the restrictions that often come with working from static locations.

Automation has been a game-changer for users of cloud-computing technologies. Businesses can stop being concerned about a lot of daily tasks that consume time that may be used more productively.

By automating tasks such as scaling, power management, and updates, among others, IT personnel have less to deal with. They can contribute more to core business activities. Moreover, the Windows 365 automation features are crucial in helping to minimize costly errors that compromise efficiency. Virtual desktop users also benefit from the improved data security and disaster recovery measures provided by cloud computing services. Because of this enhanced degree of protection, there is a huge boost in the ease of doing business.

Environmental Responsibility

Cloud computing services are meant to reduce your carbon footprint, minimize emissions, and promote the use of greener energy sources. When you look at large-scale data centers, such as what Microsoft offers, you’ll find that they mostly run on renewable energy sources.

Therefore, businesses that are intent on switching to more sustainable operations can leverage solutions like Windows 365. Using this service also means that your business can reduce what it spends on new devices because most employees will be able to access their Cloud PCs on the devices they currently own.

In the long term, this will create significantly less electronic waste and keep you on track to reaching net-zero sustainability. Similarly, the use of the Microsoft cloud and enhanced power management capabilities means that businesses can start to reduce energy consumption.

Even though many may not see it, utilizing these features can be instrumental to reducing your carbon footprint. Coupled with all this, the ability to work remotely can further reduce emissions by limiting how much commuting employees will need to do and also reducing the need for massive corporate offices.

Conclusion

Cloud computing services are playing a massive role in helping enterprises to operate more efficiently and introduce more sustainable solutions. Service providers like Microsoft run large-scale data centers far more efficiently than the average business. As a result of this, businesses using Windows 365 get a solution that allows them to reduce their carbon footprint overall and contribute to a greener planet.

Users of this service get several energy efficiency features such as cloud-based infrastructure, dynamic provisioning, automatic scaling, and power management. These are going to allow businesses to utilize more sustainable options, reduce operating costs, and become more environmentally responsible. Undoubtedly, if we are to have a better future and create a greener planet, everyone will need to play their part.

Your Windows 365 Questions Answered

A lot of progress has taken place in the domain of cloud computing over the last few decades. And it’s not surprising just how much the technology evolution is out there when you consider the way a lot of businesses operate in modern times. Leveraging the best technology on the market can be integral to the success of your business.

But, businesses like yours also need to be able to do so without breaking the bank. This is why the “as-a-service” sector is thriving. Organizations have access to all the resources they need for significantly less than what it would cost for an on-premises infrastructure.

Seeing the need to ensure clients can get even better service is why Microsoft brought us Windows 365. It’s design revolutionizes what you can get from a desktop-as-a-service platform. Today we’ll be going over the most frequently asked questions about Windows 365. So you can discover how it can benefit your business model.

What exactly is Windows 365?

The best place to start is with questions about definitions. A lot of people have heard about Windows 365. But not everyone understands its capabilities and purpose. Familiarity exists especially because Microsoft also announced Windows 11 in 2021.

Initially, there is some confusion about the two Windows solutions. However, these two are completely different products. Unlike Windows 11 which is an operating system that you install on your device, Windows 365 is a cloud-based service. The latter creates Windows virtual machines for your end users. It is these virtual machines that Microsoft calls Cloud PCs.

So the goal for Windows 365 is to enable business clients to access these Cloud PCs from anywhere. As mentioned above, Microsoft wants the Windows 365 Cloud PC to be the next step in the evolution of desktop-as-service.

Using Windows 365, clients can access their ‘desktops’ on devices running macOS, iOS, Linux, and Android. Ultimately, this means that Microsoft will no longer provide the operating system only. Now it will now be offering ersatz hardware with Windows virtual machines running on its Azure servers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had this to say:

Just like applications were brought to the cloud with SaaS, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud, providing organizations with greater flexibility and a secure way to empower their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location.”

Each Cloud PC created will then be assigned to an individual user and thus becomes their dedicated Windows device. Clients will also be able to benefit from the productivity, security, and collaboration provided by Microsoft 365.

As for accessing your Cloud PC, it’s a simple matter of navigating to the Cloud PC website. From there, users sign in using any modern browser. Alternatively, you can also use Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app.

What’s different about Windows 365?

For businesses that already have experience with various VDI platforms, you may rightly be wondering how Windows 365 is different from all the other platforms out there. For starters, simplicity. That’s what Microsoft is aiming for with the Windows 365 service.

When you consider traditional VDI platforms, you’d be looking at setting up servers, installing the necessary applications, and then giving users access. Windows 365 just about eliminates all of the above.

By offering you a Cloud PC, this means that Microsoft alone will take care of the virtualization. Ultimately this will make the deployment of operating systems a lot faster. Moreover, you won’t have to deal with the hassle of hardware and software configurations.

The automation of the various processes also means that there is no need for additional VDI expertise or resources. Microsoft will ensure that you can scale the service as necessary to meet your organization’s needs. And as organizations start to reap the benefits of a highly productive remote workforce, the need for a solution like Windows 365 grows even more.

The ability to customize and provision a desktop based on the users’ needs is beneficial. It means that for the most part, it doesn’t really matter what device an individual is using. It also doesn’t matter whether it’s a corporate-owned device or a personal one. The security measures that come with Windows 365 ensure that end-users can securely access corporate resources on personal devices.

How much will it cost me?

Microsoft’s Windows 366 Cloud PC service provides clients with a range of different fee options. This ensures there is flexibility available for different enterprises. From the small company, only needing a handful of PCs, to the larger enterprises that may require unlimited options, there’s an affordable solution for everyone.

The pricing ranges starts at $20 per user per month for the lowest-end SKU. Fees can go up to $162 per user per month for the most expensive setup.

Clients will also notice that unlike with the consumption-based pricing model that you get with Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 gives you fixed monthly subscriptions. And if you need to scale, then you have the option to choose a different subscription, as well.

For the Windows 365 Business edition, the $20 per user per month fee is going to get you a single virtual core, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. Although you will require Windows Hybrid Benefit, which is Microsoft’s Bring-Your-Own license model that helps clients apply existing (or new) licenses toward the cost of a product.

Otherwise, if you don’t have Windows Hybrid Benefit then the cost goes up to $24 per user per month. At the other end of the spectrum, clients will be able to purchase the Business SKU that offers eight virtual cores, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage for $158. And similarly to the previous one, without Windows Hybrid Benefit the cost goes up, this time to $162.

Clients that need the Windows 365 Enterprise edition will also have a similar range of pricing. At the lower end, you’ll get a single virtual core along with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for the same $20. However, if your computing needs are a lot greater, then you can choose the option that offers eight virtual cores, another 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage at a cost of $158 per user per month.

What about licensing?

Licensing for services similar to Windows 365 is typically where things start to get complicated, and expensive. Although Windows 365 will not attract everyone, Microsoft has tried to make their offering reasonably accessible.

Both Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Business are going to provide a complete cloud-based offering with multiple Cloud PC configurations depending on the needs of the various organizations.

Clients will be able to buy Windows 365 as a separate license per user for a fixed monthly fee to access and use each Cloud PC. However, in some cases, you may incur additional costs based on your network usage.

Windows 365 Enterprise

For this edition of Windows 365, clients can make their purchases directly from Windows365.com or from their account representative. After this, you can then proceed to provision and manage your Cloud PCs using the fully integrated Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

It’s also worth noting that before an individual can use Windows 365 Enterprise, they need licensing for the following: Windows 11 Enterprise or Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Azure Active Directory P1. Even though these licenses can be available separately, you’ll also find them included in:

  • Microsoft 365 F3,
  • Microsoft 365 E3,
  • Microsoft 365 E5,
  • Microsoft 365 A3,
  • Microsoft 365 A5,
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium,
  • Microsoft 365 Education Student Use Benefit subscriptions.

So for those who are interested in using Windows 365 Enterprise, but don’t meet the licensing requirements, head over to the Windows 11 Enterprise page or the Microsoft 365 page. There is more information there, along with the ability to purchase the ideal plan to meet your needs.

Windows 365 Business

Similar to the above, clients interested in purchasing Windows 365 Business can also do so directly from Windows365.com. Upon purchase, you can then set up your account without a domain. As for provisioning and management of the Cloud PCs, you can do that directly from the Windows 365 homepage on the web.

Moreover, clients should be happy to note that there are no additional licenses that will be required with only your credit card necessary to get you started. If you’re already a client of Microsoft 365, the purchase will complete through the Microsoft 365 admin center. All you simply need to do is get in touch with your global administrator. Alternatively, your billing administrator can assist in completing the purchase.

What are the device requirements?

One of the major benefits Microsoft intends to provide businesses is a reduction in IT costs, especially related to hardware. Because Windows 365 is essentially PC hardware that runs in the cloud, the importance of your actual physical device is significantly less. As long as you have an internet connection, you’ll be able to operate a reasonably powerful Windows PC. And you can do so using just about any device.

Accessing this Cloud PC is easy. You can use any modern browser or the Remote Desktop app. A setup like this is going to be extremely beneficial for organizations, too. More specifically, it’s a game-changer for those with a sizeable remote or seasonal workforce.

Additionally, your organization won’t need to make a massive investment in hardware for all those employees. Even better is the fact that they’ll be able to easily access these Cloud PCs anywhere, without losing any progress.

In short, all Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices are expectedly going to be compatible with Windows 365. The best part, however, is that clients will be able to easily stream a Windows 365 session to hardware running macOS, iPadOS, Linux, and Android.

However, for the best experience, Microsoft recommends devices that have a traditional keyboard and mouse. For the most part, as long as your device has an HTML5 browser and a DSL connection or a wireless internet connection capable of streaming a video, you will be just fine. The amount of bandwidth that you’ll need, however, will depend on your workload.

Which configuration is right for me?

Choosing the right configuration for your business is going to be key. If you want to get the most out of Windows 365, you’ll need to understand your needs. After all, you don’t want to select a configuration that eventually proves incapable of meeting your computing load.

But, you also don’t want to pay for access resources that you do not need. The best way choose is to get in touch with Microsoft Support. From there, you can get advice on how best to set up your environment.

However, there are some examples that we can look to get a good idea of what you may require:

  • 1vCPU/2GB/64GB – the first configuration is ideal for call centers, frontline workers, and education/training/CRM access.
  • 2vCPU/4GB/64GB – in this scenario, the offer is ideal for short-term and seasonal users, those working from home, customer services, mergers and acquisitions, and Bring-Your-Own-PC situations.
  • 2vCPU/4GB/128GB – suits the same scenarios as above.
  • 2vCPU/4GB/256GB – also suits the same scenarios as above.
  • 2vCPU/8GB/128GB – ideal for market researchers, working from home, Bring-Your-Own-PC scenarios, and government consultants.
  • 2vCPU/8GB/256GB – suits the same scenarios as the previous configuration.
  • 4vCPU/16GB/128B – ideal for Bring-Your-Own-PC scenarios, working from home, healthcare services, government consultants, and finance.
  • 4vCPU/16GB/256GB – same as previous configuration.
  • 4vCPU/16GB/512GB – same as previous configuration.
  • 8vCPU/32GB/128GB – ideal for content creators, engineers, software developers, and design and engineering workstations.
  • 8vCPU/32GB/256GB – same as previous configuration.
  • 8vCPU/32GB/512GB – same as previous configuration.

Is it the same as Azure Virtual Desktop?

Any business that has previously considered cloud-based solutions will be aware that Microsoft already has another service that it offers called Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). There are probably plenty of businesses that already use AVD. So understandably they would want to know the advantages of switching. Or is Windows 365 the same as Azure Virtual Desktop?

The simple answer is no. These two products are quite different. Although they do have several similarities. For starters, both of them aim to give clients the latest in what cloud technology has to offer.

This means you’ll have high-end security features, a flexible work environment, and premium remote work experience. And you’ll get this at a relatively affordable price. There are some differences, however. AVD is a cloud VDI that customizes the infrastructure of clients and also manage the resources that support the virtualized infrastructure.

On the other hand, Windows 365 gives you a fully managed desktop-as-a-service solution. It offers you the great Windows experience that you have to come to expect. All without having to deal with the management of infrastructure.

Technical features

When it comes to the technical side of things, there are several differences that you need to know for you to decide which service is right for your business. Some of the differences are as follows:

  • Design – Windows 365 has been designed to be simple and easy to use whereas AVD has been designed more for flexibility.
  • Desktop – clients get personal desktops for Windows 365 and AVD (single session). For AVD (multisession) there are pooled desktops.
  • Pricing – the pricing structure for AVD follows a consumption-based model whereas Windows 365 offers a fixed per-user per-month pricing.
  • Subscription – subscriptions are customer-managed for AVD and fully Microsoft-managed for Windows 365 Business. Windows 365 Enterprise is also Microsoft-managed with the exception of networking.
  • VM SKUs – Windows 365 has various optimized options for multiple use cases. On the other hand, AVD offers any Azure VM including GPU-enabled SKUs.
  • Backup – AVD clients will get to use Azure backup services while Windows 365 users get local redundant storage for disaster recovery.

In summary

Looking at the different services helps us to know that AVD will get you the best price on Windows 10 with Windows 10 multisession, exclusive to AVD. Azure Virtual Desktop is fully customizable and runs on Azure. It would be ideal for you, if you already have experience with VDI solutions. It’s also a good fit if you require industry-leading technology that gives you the flexibility of a fully customized environment.

On the other hand, Windows 365 gives you a solution that is simple and easy to provision. It’s simple to deploy without requiring special IT skills and has predictable pricing. It also gives you the option to scale in either direction, according to the needs of your business.

Therefore, if you have no previous experience with Azure Virtual Desktop, as well as a hybrid or seasonal workforce that needs PC management, then Windows 365 is the choice for you.

How secure is Windows 365?

Arguably one of the biggest concerns for businesses regarding cloud-based solutions is cyber security. Cloud solutions enable businesses to have their employees working from home while using personal devices. This means the risk of compromise is very high if security is lacking.

There are plenty of areas in the network that could be potentially very vulnerable to security breaches. However, Microsoft is well aware of these concerns. And it offers several guidelines to help improve the security of your Cloud PCs. These are as follows.

Conditional Access

Using Conditional Access policies is highly recommended to maintain strict control over the devices and apps that can access company resources. Conditional Access also helps you to secure end-user access to Windows 365. Another way to further enhance that security would be to use Azure AD multi-factor authentication to verify users.

Microsoft Defender

Microsoft advises connecting Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to Cloud PCs devices to help you identify threats and set devices as non-compliant. In addition, you’ll be able to apply device compliance policies to Cloud PCs as well as use Conditional Access for threat identification.

Applicable Blocking

Devices with a high-risk level need to be blocked from accessing corporate resources until the issues are resolved. And you can easily do this by using Intune compliance policies with Conditional Access policies to identify the high-risk devices and users.

Up-To-Date OS

Keeping your OS up-to-date is a key aspect of maintaining high levels of cyber security. Updates bring you enhanced security measures and other new features that serve to improve the user experience while fortifying your corporate network. And when it comes to your Cloud PCs, IT admins can use Endpoint Manager to configure Intune Windows 10/11 updates and policies for Windows Update for Windows.

Admin Security

Another security measure that Microsoft has put in place is that Windows 365 Enterprise end-users will not be admins of their Cloud PCs. This particular feature comes as a default setting.

Integrations

Lastly, Microsoft has created an integration of Windows 365 with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. What this does is give you a scenario that allows security and endpoint admins to work together managing the Cloud PC environment similar to how they would manage a physical endpoint. Consequently, subscribed Cloud PCs will:

  • Send data through to Microsoft 365 Secure Score.
  • Appear on the dashboards of both Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Security Center and threat analysis when unhealthy.
  • Similar to how other managed devices function, Cloud PCs will also respond to the various remediation measures.

What features does Windows 365 Business have?

Windows 365 Business is the edition made for smaller organizations. More specifically, it is meant for businesses that need to deploy no more than 300 Cloud PCs. As far as technology prerequisites go, Microsoft has made it very simple for businesses.

All you’ll need to do is use the Windows 365 cloud portal to purchase, deploy, and manage Cloud PCs at any time.

Furthermore, because everything works with Azure natively, Windows 365 Business clients aren’t going to require an Azure subscription or domain controller. Your workload will be lighter, as all the components will be running inside the Microsoft cloud and managed by Microsoft.

Purchasing Windows 365 Business can be done directly from the Microsoft 365 admin center. Upon purchase, you can then set up your account without a domain. And you can provision and manage cloud PCs directly from the Windows 365 web portal.

Other Advantages

Another advantage that comes with Windows 365 Business is that no other licenses are needed. So getting started is very easy and may only require a credit card.

The self-service capabilities on offer enable end-users to perform maintenance on cloud PCs via the Windows 365 web portal. The actions supported include Restart, Rename, and Reset (which allows you to remove your personal files, apps, or changes that you may have made to settings).

It’s also important to note that you’ll need to backup all your important files to a cloud storage service or external storage before resetting. This is because the process will delete these files. Windows 365 Business also has native Azure AD support. This means clients aren’t going to require an existing Active Directory domain or Azure subscription.

In addition to Windows 365, Microsoft also announced the successor to Windows 10 in 2021. And given that Windows 11 is the ideal operating system to optimize hybrid work, it’s great to know that new Cloud PCs will come with this OS installed by default. So organizations will benefit from all the new improvements to Windows. They’ll additionally enjoy the enhanced security features that come with it.

What features does Windows 365 Enterprise have?

Windows 365 Enterprise is the ideal edition for larger organizations. Unlike with Windows 365 Business ,which tops out at 300 users, Enterprise clients won’t have any such limits.

If the objective for your business is to manage Cloud PCs with MEM and leverage the integrations with other Microsoft services, then you’d be smart to purchase Windows 365 Enterprise.

By doing so, you benefit from other services such as Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. Although this edition may not have a license limit, users will still require a license for Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Azure Active Directory P1.

Purchasing and Setup

When it comes to purchasing channels and license assignments, the former will be done via Web Direct, Enterprise Agreements (EA), CSP. And the latter via the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Clients using Enterprise will have networking through their Azure VNet, since it isn’t included in the license.

As for the administration side of things, the provisioning can be configured and customized to meet the specific needs of your organization. Your admins can set up the VNet, configure user permissions, and then assign the policy to an Azure AD group.

After that, the admins can proceed to provision the Cloud PCs with a choice of either standard gallery images or custom images. Clients using this version also get support for Group Policy Objects (GPO), Intune MDM, and application deployment.

End users can restart, rename, and troubleshoot their Cloud PCs on the Windows 365 homepage. In addition, users get assigned standard user roles on the Cloud PCs and this is by default.

However, when the need arises, admins can change this setting in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center. And as with Windows 365 Business, users can access their Cloud PCs via the Remote Desktop app or on windows365.microsoft.com using any modern browser.

Furthermore, you enjoy great security measures with Conditional Access that can be implemented using the MEM admin center or Azure AD. In addition, there is support for per-user multi-factor authentication and integration with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.

How do you deploy Windows 365?

Once you have purchased the Windows 365 licenses that your organization needs, the Windows 365 node in Microsoft Endpoint Manager becomes active for management. So now you can begin provisioning your Cloud PCs. Setting up your system to provision Cloud PCs will require you to follow the steps below.

Assign licenses

For a user to have access to a Cloud PC, they will need to have a Windows 365 license assigned to them. You can use the following methods to assign the licenses:

  • For individual users, you have the option of using the Microsoft 365 admin center.
  • For group license assignments, you have the option of using the Azure AD admin center.
  • Lastly, for the assigning of direct licenses to a list of individual users, navigate to Assign licenses for Windows 365 or alternatively go to Assign license.

Create an on-premises network connection

An on-premises network connection (OPNC) is the crucial element that allows you to provision Cloud PCs that are attached to a virtual network that is under your management. Microsoft allows you to have 10 OPNCs per tenant. Creating an OPNC requires you to meet a few criteria:

  • You need to be an Intune Admin in Azure AD.
  • You also should have Owner permissions on the Azure subscription that contains the VNet with connectivity to your on-prem domain controller and network. 
  • Finally, you should have a PowerShell execution policy that is set up to enable RemoteSigned scripts. And for those that use Group Policy to set execution policy, you’ll need to ensure that the GPO targeted at the Organizational Unit defined in the OPNC is configured to allow RemoteSigned scripts.

Provide users a localized Windows experience

A great way to improve end-user comfort and potentially productivity levels, is by presenting Windows with a language that the user is comfortable with using. Setting up a localized Windows experience can be configured as a provisioning policy or by creating a custom device image.

One of the announcements made by Microsoft in February 2022 regarding Windows 365 Enterprise, talked about an important update that will enhance the user experience for different users from across the globe. The objective is to enable you to configure a Language & Region pack that can be installed on the Cloud PCs during provisioning when you are creating your provisioning policy.

At present, there are 38 languages available. And Microsoft will allow you to change the configured language for existing provisioning policies and subsequently reprovision any desired Cloud PCs.

Add or delete custom device images

Microsoft enables you to use a custom device image by simply adding it into your Azure subscription. From there, you can use it for Cloud PC provisioning. The standard Azure Marketplace gallery is where you’d navigate. Or you could also create your own custom-managed image. For those with a Shared Image Gallery in Microsoft Azure, they can convert one of those images into a managed image.

Create a provisioning policy

The last step in this process will require you to create a Provisioning Policy so that you can provision the Cloud PC with an image of your choice and is based on Azure AD security groups. Provisioning policies hold key provisioning rules and settings, allowing the Windows 365 service to set up and configure the right Cloud PCs for your users. Once the provisioning policies have been created and assigned to the Azure AD user security groups or Microsoft 365 Groups, the Windows 365 service will then:

  • Check the appropriate license for each user.
  • Configure each Cloud PC as necessary.

Why should our organization be interested?

Remote work has been a major topic of discussion, especially over the last few years. Therefore, Windows 365 is available at the best time. The concept of the Cloud PC will help your organization by simplifying the process of having your staff working remotely.

By having a PC running in the cloud, your workforce can access their desktops from anywhere without difficulty. This kind of flexibility is something that can make your organization more attractive when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Not only is Windows 365 going to allow you to take advantage of hybrid work. But it’s also going to address what is probably your next concern – security. When using Windows 365, your data will store on the cloud where Zero Trust Principles are in effect.

Moreover, Microsoft Endpoint Manager solutions will help fortify the platform for greater cyber security. Thus, organizations can rest easy knowing that although their workers are not on the premises, they can still remain productive without compromising the security of your data. And if you need to scale, it’s equally simplified without hassle.

Other Benefits

Windows 365 enables you to configure the size, CPU, and RAM of your Cloud PCs according to your needs. This versatility means that if the need arises to increase or reduce the computing resources that you require, you’ll be able to do so.

Windows also aims to help your organization lower your expenses in the hardware department. Because users will have desktops running in the cloud, you won’t face any significant costs regarding purchasing high-end devices.

In addition, you potentially won’t have to refresh your organization’s hardware as frequently. The Cloud PC will be handling the heavy computing on the Azure servers. Your organization may also save costs during the setup process.

Since Microsoft designed Windows 365 for ease of use, setting it up is not going to require you to bring in specialist IT professionals onto your team. Your IT people will be able to deploy and manage the configuration of any PC, much like they have been doing all along. 

What kind of support is available?

Undoubtedly every organization that wants to sign up for Windows 365 would like to know about support. The last thing you need is to run into the kinds of problems that could prevent your organization’s staff from accessing their Cloud PCs. Microsoft has availed support for Windows 365 clients in various ways. Each level of support is available, depending on how your Windows 365 subscription was purchased.

If you made your purchase via the self-service feature, you can request support through the Microsoft 365 admin center. For those who would have made their subscription purchases through volume licensing, they will need to contact their Microsoft account managers for assistance.

And lastly, if your Windows 365 subscription was purchased through a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), the latter can submit support requests for you. These requests, which can be for non-technical issues such as enrollment, membership, billing, subscription, and user management, can be submitted in the Microsoft Partner Center.

Can I use my apps on Windows 365?

According to Microsoft, Windows 365 was designed with compatibility in mind. This falls in line with the goal of trying to make clients’ apps compatible with the latest versions of Microsoft software. So if you have apps that you were using on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10, then you’ll be glad to know that they will work on Windows 365, as well. And if you have any challenges with your apps, Microsoft can help you address them for free with an eligible subscription through the Fast Track App Assure program.

Wrap Up

Windows 365 is a service that has plenty to offer your organization. Although it may not be the first such product in the domain of virtualization technology, it intends to perform like no other before it.

One of the key goals is to avail cloud computing technology to as many as possible and make it easy to use. The recent global pandemic showed us what can happen to countless organizations if adequate solutions aren’t available.

Going forward, I believe that the remote workforce will continue to grow and businesses will need to find ways to take advantage of this. Sometimes the ideal person for a particular task may be on the other side of the globe. And by leveraging Windows 365 and its communication channels, collaborating with anyone anywhere can be safe and easy.

And if there’s anything else that you may need answers to, Microsoft will be hosting monthly Windows 365 Ask Microsoft Anything events, on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Now, there’s no denying that the Windows 365 Cloud PC may not be for everyone. But, it’s certainly a product that’s worth taking a good look at.

Simplify Your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure with Windows 365

Businesses need to be constantly looking for different solutions to help them improve their operations. One area that can give businesses a significant advantage is their IT environment. Technology has evolved greatly, and businesses can now easily leverage cloud computing to boost productivity.

Solutions like Windows 365 enable businesses to provide employees with secure and reliable access to virtual desktops anytime and from anywhere. Although cloud computing has been available for a while, Microsoft is offering clients something that is meant to take the cloud computing experience to new heights.

The Windows 365 Cloud has plenty of features designed to help you better manage and simplify your virtual desktop infrastructure. And in this article, we’ll be exploring those features.

Management Features of Windows 365

Windows 365 is a service that is easy to deploy as well as easy to use. Microsoft has built-in several management features that can help your business manage your virtual desktop infrastructure quickly and efficiently. Let’s take a look at some of those features.

Centralized Management

IT admins can often encounter huge challenges with decentralized systems. One of the more common issues that you can face is vulnerability to security threats. When successful, these attacks will compromise the integrity of the entire network and can be quite costly to rectify.

Running a decentralized environment efficiently will probably require a well-staffed IT department to ensure that your business functions smoothly. Without this, ensuring that all desktops are fully up-to-date and secure can prove to be a challenging and time-consuming task.

To make running your virtual desktop environment simpler, Microsoft has developed Windows 365 to be easily manageable without the need for significant IT resources. With the availability of centralized management, your business can comfortably manage your Cloud PC environment from a single location.

What this does is make the task of managing and monitoring your virtual desktops far less complicated for IT admins. This capability will have the additional advantage of enhancing your security posture. This is because using a single console enables you to better secure your environment.

Self-Service Portal

Continuing with the theme of ease of use, Microsoft provides a self-service portal for Windows 365 Cloud PCs. We all know how far too much time can be lost with employees waiting around to get IT support. In some cases, it could be even worse when the help you need is external.

The potential downtime can be very costly in terms of productivity. This is why having a self-service portal makes so much sense. With a self-service portal, employees can manage certain things without having to wait for IT support. Cloud PC users can install applications, set up user accounts, and configure their security settings with relative ease.

Having a feature like this will not only help to boost productivity, but it will empower your employees as well. Furthermore, by allowing Cloud PC users to manage their virtual desktops, IT admins can dedicate more time to more productive work for the business.

IT admins can also use this feature to quickly and easily add or remove virtual desktops. This depends on the organization’s needs. And it can help to simplify the management of your virtual desktop environment without the need for external IT support.

Automated Patching

When it comes to the security of your virtual desktop environment, you cannot afford to neglect regular updates and patches. Malicious actors are getting worse with each passing year, meaning that businesses need to constantly reinforce their cyber security.

Fortunately, Microsoft offers its clients regular updates for its various products and services. This is to ensure that clients get the best and most secure experience. The challenge that can often arise, however, involves updating every single device in an environment. It can have its fair share of complications.

So, even though service providers may be regularly offering updates and security patches, if the task is not carried out, well your environment remains vulnerable. To try and minimize the issues that IT admins can face, Windows 365 has automated patching. And the biggest advantage of this is that it means your virtual desktops will always be up-to-date with the absolute latest security updates and software patches. Moreover, automated patching lightens the burden for IT admins and simplifies the management of your virtual desktop environment.

Customizable Management

Businesses need to know that when they are purchasing a product or service, they get something that is worth the investment. Part of the attraction of Windows 365 is that it offers great value for money in addition to being easy to use. Clients get the option to select a plan that suits the unique needs of their particular business. Microsoft offers businesses a choice between Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise to cater to both small and large businesses. 

These options give businesses the flexibility to customize an ideal subscription plan which eliminates the risk of paying for more than you need or that fails to meet your requirements. And the pay-as-you-go subscription model also allows businesses to continually make changes to their virtual desktop environment as their needs change. This way, you don’t need to make any long-term commitments, but you get access to the computing resources you need at any given time.

Benefits of Windows 365’s Simplified Management

The features that we have gone over have several benefits that they can offer your business. Some of these benefits are the following:

Reduced IT Overhead

The costs that businesses will often have to dedicate to their IT needs can be massive. These include things such as setting up an on-premises infrastructure, issuing devices to employees, and having a well-staffed IT department. One of the goals of Windows 365 is to help businesses minimize these costs.

By getting access to virtual desktops that are easily accessible, you’ll no longer need to worry about the devices you use. Because the heavy computing is done on the cloud, employees can use any device, including smartphones and tablets. And this will immediately help you to spend less on purchasing new devices.

In the long term, you will also reduce your expenses by not having to maintain the same device refresh cycle. Windows 365 is simple enough to use and maintain that you can run it efficiently without needing to bring in additional IT support. Features such as the self-service portal are perfectly designed to make management of your virtual desktop environment easier for IT.

As a result, they will also have a lighter burden meaning they can devote more time to other productive tasks. Additional reductions in IT overhead can also come from not having to maintain on-premises infrastructure because not only is it expensive to set up, but it’s also costly to maintain.

Increased Productivity

Virtual desktops should, by nature, help boost productivity because of how easily accessible they are. Employees have the flexibility to access their Cloud PCs even when traveling using any device they will be carrying. More importantly, remote work can create a more positive work environment by enabling people to work where and how they want.

Over the last few years, the desire to have the option to work remotely has grown significantly. So, if businesses can find a way to offer this to their employees, it could potentially boost productivity. People who feel cared for are far more likely to perform better.

Furthermore, the simplified management features available will allow Cloud PC users to work more efficiently with fewer issues. Features such as automated patching and centralized management give you a virtual desktop environment that is simple to manage. All of these things can contribute to lightening the load for your IT personnel, which can free up time for more critical tasks.

In addition, the security of the Microsoft Cloud as well as the redundancies in place, mean that your Cloud PCs will always be available. You don’t need to worry about facing disasters that can cause significant downtime because your data is highly secured.

Improved Security

With all the remote access that Windows 365 offers users, security needs to be of the highest standard. Recently we have witnessed plenty of businesses suffering from various attacks, so businesses are very wary about cloud computing solutions.

This is why Windows 365 would be a great choice because it leverages the industry-leading security measures that Azure has used over the years. You also get automated patching to ensure that your virtual desktop environment is fully protected by the regular updates that Microsoft delivers. By doing it automatically, it eliminates common issues that you may face with updates.

Monitoring your environment without the features to simplify management can be a complicated task. And this serves to highlight the importance of centralized management for enabling you to run your environment more efficiently.

IT admins can easily monitor all devices under their management from a single console and ensure that they are following all organizational policies. Using features like this will not only enhance your security but improve operational efficiency as well by keeping your virtual desktop environment up-to-date with all the latest features.

Greater Flexibility

I’m sure it’s pretty clear by now that there is a lot of talk about flexibility and its benefits. Businesses that can improve the working atmosphere for their employees, as well as accessibility to virtual desktops, can reap huge benefits. Windows 365 offers features like customizable management to address these areas.

In so doing, Microsoft allows businesses to select subscription plans that can perfectly meet their requirements. As a result of this, you’ll have the flexibility to use Windows 365 to carry out your business operations without any hindrances.

But, this is not only advantageous to the business but to employees as well. Because of the support for multiple operating systems and devices, Cloud PC users can comfortably use whatever device they want. Add to that the fact that the self-service portal allows users to carry out certain tasks that would normally require IT support, and you empower users even more.

So, whether your preference is iOS or Android, Windows or macOS, you can access your Cloud PC and get all your work done. And this you can do for years to come without worrying about purchasing new, more powerful devices.

Cost Savings

Everything that we’ve discussed plays a key role in providing Windows 365 clients with a service that can help businesses cut costs. By providing customizable management, businesses get the option to take full advantage of what Windows 365 Cloud PCs can offer while staying within their budgets. It may actually reduce your IT expenditure because you won’t need to purchase as much hardware or require additional IT personnel to run your Cloud PC environment.

Furthermore, the security of the Microsoft Cloud assures you that you don’t have to worry about cyber-attacks that could result in downtime. Windows 365 is determined to ensure that your Cloud PCs remain available at all times. And if you compare this to other backup systems that may be available to you, you may see just how much you’ll be saving by using Windows 365. Ultimately, the reductions in IT expenditure will help you to invest in other areas of your business thus improving growth and productivity.

Conclusion

Most businesses will be aware of the benefits that can be gained by introducing cloud computing to their businesses. But, as with any new solutions, there will be significant concerns about how viable this would be. With Windows 365, Microsoft wants businesses to have a solution that can alleviate security concerns, reduce operating costs, and increase flexibility among others.

Features designed to simplify Cloud PC management, such as the self-service portal, centralized management, automated patching, and customizable management, will help you function more efficiently. All of these things are crucial for improving employee morale, boosting productivity, and potentially increasing revenues. When all is said and done, Windows 365 may just be the solution you need to get closer to your business goals.

Windows 365 Flexible Pricing – Control Your IT Costs

Cloud computing has been evolving at a very impressive rate over the last few decades. It is now becoming an integral part of how a lot of businesses perform their operations. As you would expect, tech giant Microsoft has contributed a lot to the development that we have witnessed.

More recently, we have seen this with Windows 365, which is a virtual desktop service that Microsoft introduced a few years back. This solution gives businesses the ability to offer their employees desktops that run in the cloud and are always available. Having an option like this allows employees to remain productive wherever they may be.

And one of the best things about Windows 365 is that it offers flexible pricing terms that make it accessible to businesses both large and small. In this article, we’ll be discussing these flexible terms that Microsoft offers and how your business can benefit.

Flexible Pricing Features of Windows 365

To attract large numbers of businesses, Microsoft has had to ensure that Windows 365 has several flexible pricing features that you will find appealing. These features allow you to select the computing resources you need that will fit your unique business strategy. So, let’s take a look at some of these features.

Monthly Subscription

The flexibility that users get from their Windows 365 Cloud PCs does not only apply to how and where they can use their virtual desktops. It also applies to the subscription terms that are available to your organization. Clients that use Windows 365 get to pay for the service on a month-to-month basis.

As you can imagine, this gives you the advantage of not having to make a longer-term commitment that you may not be willing to make. You get to assess the benefits that Windows 365 gives your business every month and make adjustments to your strategies as you need.

Additionally, this also helps you to more efficiently manage your computing resources based on your changing needs. Therefore, if you need to increase or decrease the computing resources that you are using, Windows 365 allows you to do so without any problems. And all of this you can do quickly and seamlessly without having to commit to a long-term subscription that may not suit your business strategy.

Customizable Plans

Within your organization, employees working in different departments can have different computing resource needs. For example, individuals working in human resources departments are unlikely to need the same computing power as people working in an engineering department.

And fortunately for Windows 365 clients, Microsoft appreciates this and enables you to select a plan that can be uniquely tailored to precisely fit your specific computing requirements. That way, you don’t need to worry about getting more or less than your business needs.

Right at the beginning, there are two subscription options available depending on the size of your business. If you are a relatively smaller organization requiring less than 300 Cloud PCs, then you have the Windows 365 Business Edition.

Larger enterprises with employees that require a greater number of Cloud PCs have the option of Windows 365 Enterprise. The great thing about all this, however, is that these options all offer the same range of features. Therefore, small businesses get to have a similar Windows 365 experience to the larger businesses without having to break the bank.

Pay-As-You-Go

This next feature provides businesses with a lot of flexibility relevant to how they can manage their budgets. With a pay-as-you-go arrangement in place, plenty of businesses, especially the smaller ones, will find it a bit easier to take advantage of what Windows 365 can offer without compromising their budget structures.

As already mentioned before, for some businesses, long-term commitments may not currently be financially viable, so having a service that allows you to only pay for what you are using can be a great solution.

One of the most obvious differences between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is the payment structure. AVD offers its services on a consumption-based model, whereas Windows 365 uses a fixed per-month/per-user licensing arrangement.

The benefit that Windows 365 clients get from this is that it allows them to plan long-term, knowing exactly what their IT expenditure will be. And in the case of changing computing resource needs, they can easily scale up or down to meet demand without being worried about having to face massive costs to do so.

Self-Service Portal

Windows 365 prides itself on being a service that is easy to deploy and use for any business. By designing it this way, Microsoft has been able to offer clients a product that doesn’t require any additional financial investment to set up and use.

According to Microsoft, you should not need additional IT resources to help you set up your Windows 365 environment. And this is clearly something that is meant to help your business reduce expenditure. But, it’s not only setting up the Cloud PCs that is meant to be simple, but maintaining the environment should be as well.

Hence the availability of a self-service portal. This feature is perfect for helping your IT staff maintain your Windows 365 environment without needing to be dependent on support services. Moreover, if your business needs to add or remove virtual desktops, then your IT admins can leverage the self-service portal to do so easily and securely.

Ultimately, what Microsoft is giving you with this feature is a tool that enables you to adjust your computing resources as your business continues to evolve. Most importantly, you can do this in-house without needing to invest in additional IT resources.

Benefits of Windows 365’s Flexible Pricing

The various features that we have gone over above have several benefits that they can offer your business. In this section, we’ll be looking at some of those benefits.

Cost Control

Having effective cost control measures is essential for any business to minimize the progressive growth of expenses. Implementing such measures can help your business grow with minimal issues. One of the biggest things that a lot of businesses see as a great cost control measure is cloud computing.

Not only is this something that will help your employees remain productive from remote locations, but it can reduce IT expenses. If you consider setting up an on-premises infrastructure, you’ll quickly realize how costly an undertaking that would be. And that’s before considering the additional expenses for maintaining and potentially scaling the environment.

With Windows 365’s flexible pricing options, Microsoft wants businesses to have a virtual desktop service that can help to keep their IT expenses manageable. By signing up for only the computing resources that you need, you avoid having to overpay, especially for unnecessary resources.

This also gives you the advantage of planning an accurate budget well in advance. Moreover, you can also make allowances in your budget that will enable you to scale your computing resources if necessary.

Scalability

Windows 365 offers two subscription plans to businesses, the Enterprise 365 edition and the Business 365 edition. As mentioned already, this gives large and small businesses options that can meet their unique needs.

Within these two editions of Windows 365, you’ll also find several different options offering different levels of computing resources. This allows businesses to subscribe to options that will suit their needs without being concerned about potentially costly, long-term commitments.

In addition to this, as the needs of your business continually evolve, Windows 365 allows you to easily and quickly adapt to those changes. If your business is experiencing significant growth, you can scale your computing resources accordingly without incurring significant costs to do so.

The pay-as-you-go model that Windows 365 uses gives your IT staff the flexibility to adapt to the business environment when the need arises. Because of this, you can operate at optimal efficiency levels with exactly the computing resources you need at any given time.

Reduced Overhead

Another massive benefit that Windows 365 provides is the ease with which you can deploy, use, and maintain your virtual desktop environment. This gives businesses an excellent cloud computing service that doesn’t require you to bring in additional or specialized IT professionals.

The simplicity of Windows 365 is meant to enable your in-house IT staff to easily set up Cloud PCs for all employees that need them without necessarily bringing in external support. As you can imagine, the potential reduction in overhead can be massive.

By leveraging Windows 365, you already have plenty of benefits gained by providing employees with the flexibility to work from any remote location. And then, the reduced demands on IT admins will also free them up to dedicate more time to essential value creation for the organization. All of this, when put together, provides an excellent foundation for improving the efficiency of the business, increasing productivity, and ultimately keeping your expenses down.

Improved Productivity

Windows 365 can provide greater security for their clients’ virtual desktop environment because of the measures that are in place in the Microsoft Cloud to safeguard data. This will have an additional positive impact on productivity because of how employees can do their work securely regardless of where they are. And unlike with on-premises systems, where you may occasionally have hardware issues, the redundancies in place for Windows 365 Cloud PCs are designed to keep your data accessible at all times.

The flexible pricing terms that you get with Windows 365 are what make this a great productivity tool for a lot of businesses. It’s especially advantageous when you consider that plenty of businesses, particularly the smaller ones, may otherwise find it financially difficult to offer employees this level of flexibility in their work conditions with the security that Microsoft provides. In addition, your Cloud PC environment is regularly updated so that you always have the best features available without the need to increase your IT expenditure.

Customizable Plans

A small startup company is going to have significantly different needs to those of a massive Fortune 500 company, for example. However, that is not to say that Windows 365 can’t be as equally beneficial to the business operations of both.

It’s this need to avail virtual desktops to all who need them that has led Microsoft to allow businesses to pay monthly subscriptions for only the computing resources that they’ll be using. So, businesses can choose between Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Business, depending on their various computing resource needs.

And within these two editions, you get several customizable and flexible plans that can be tailored to your unique needs and pocket. Therefore, all you have to do is determine the number of Cloud PCs you want and the amount of storage you’ll need. This is all you have to pay for, no more, no less.

Furthermore, having a pay-as-you-go model in place also makes it a lot easier for your business to adapt to a changing business environment. Thus, if the need arises, you can scale up or down with little to no trouble, and this increased control over computing resources will help improve your efficiency.

Conclusion

Most people will probably agree that there has been a massive increase in the acceptance of cloud computing by all businesses, both large and small. It’s not surprising as we have come to realize all the benefits that our businesses stand to gain. Not to mention the work that Microsoft has put into services like Windows 365 to improve security and reliability.

Although not the first of its kind, Windows 365 has been a game-changer for businesses because of its ease of use and favorable payment terms. Having access to a cloud computing environment that can potentially lower your IT expenses while boosting productivity is a great solution for any enterprise. And with all the development efforts that Microsoft continues to pour in, the Windows 365 Cloud PC will only get better.

Windows 365 – Always Up-to-Date Computing for Your Business

Over the last few years, we have witnessed an alarming increase in cybercrime across the globe. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and businesses are suffering massive losses. As we take all of this into consideration, it makes us realize the importance of maintaining a secure and always up-to-date environment. Microsoft’s latest cloud computing platform, named Windows 365, is a solution that is meant to provide businesses with a flexible computing environment that adheres to the strictest security measures available.

By providing clients with excellent always-up-to-date features, Microsoft can ensure that clients always have the latest security updates and software versions.

So, in this article, we want to go over the various always-up-to-date features that you get with Windows 365 and why this cloud computing service can give your business the necessary security and reliability.

What Is an Always-up-to-date Computing Environment?

Malicious actors out there are constantly coming up with new tricks. They’re always looking to perpetrate data breaches, hacks, cyber attacks, and identity theft. They are always looking to exploit any potential vulnerabilities that may exist in your network. So, to counter this threat, one of the best tools that services like Windows 365 can offer clients is an always-up-to-date computing environment. This is something that allows businesses to run Cloud PCs that are always up-to-date with not only the latest features but important security patches as well.

Most of us have already experienced the challenges that one can face when trying to maintain an up-to-date computing environment. Although various updates and security patches are regularly availed, it can still prove to be a challenging task.

Hence the need for a system that provides an always-up-to-date environment. It ensures that your business is running the software versions you need to maximize productivity. Additionally, this also enhances organizational security in a way that reduces the risk of successful attacks.

Windows 365 Always-up-to-date Features

To ensure that businesses will consistently have a computing environment that is running on the latest updates, Windows 365 takes advantage of several features. Combining these features helps to ensure that businesses will get an effective and comprehensive updating system. In this section, we’ll take a look at those various features.

Automated Updates

Chances are high that for most people when you encounter that “would you like to update now” prompt, you’ll click on “no.” No one wants the disruption to their workday, especially not knowing how long this update process could take. Even being aware of the security risks of ignoring updates, people will regularly continue without installing them. Actions like this are the reason behind the need for automated updates. Windows 365 can ensure that your devices are updated at a time that is convenient and doesn’t affect any ongoing work.

This gives you the scheduling flexibility to plan for the installation of automated updates. It works for both the operating system and applications on your Cloud PCs to be done during non-working hours. And since these updates are applied automatically, it helps reduce the workload for your IT staff by eliminating some of those sometimes daunting manual tasks. All of this while your business gets to use the latest features and maintain high-security levels.

Patch Management

Patch management involves the scanning and detection of security patches before they can be downloaded and installed. Using this tool helps IT admins to keep the devices that are under their control constantly up-to-date with the latest security patches. Leverage the patch management capabilities that Windows 365 provides. And eliminate the need for IT admins to manually check each virtual device to see if it has the necessary patches applied.

Having feature updates and security patches applied automatically means that you reduce the risk of hackers getting sufficient time to exploit any known vulnerabilities and security threats. This helps your business significantly reduce attack surfaces and keep employee productivity levels unaffected by potential security breaches. Moreover, businesses will also get to reap the benefits from reduced expenses for device lifecycle management as well as repairs.

Centralized Management

Centralized management can play a key role in simplifying your organization’s IT operations. It can help to make user access and data storage easier. It additionally contributes to saving IT admins plenty of time that could be used more productively.

As a result, your security posture can be expected to improve because of how admins can monitor the entire network from a single console. Doing this allows them to quickly detect any issues that may arise and implement the necessary solutions without delay.

This is particularly important in the area of updates and security patches. As already mentioned, manually updating devices can often be a nightmare of a task. So automated updates will come as a welcome relief. Having an always-up-to-date environment means IT admins will get their desired secure computing environments. It also allows the freeing up some of their time. All in all, taking advantage of centralized management for your Cloud PCs gives you a more secure and stable environment from top to bottom.

Integration with Microsoft Azure

One of the things that Microsoft was keen to highlight when it first introduced Windows 365 was this new product’s foundation of existing Azure infrastructure. As such, it could benefit from the tools and features that Microsoft clients would already be familiar with. This means that Windows 365 clients have access to the excellent computing resources that Azure infrastructure can provide.

And we cannot talk about these resources without mentioning security. This includes the highly reliable security measures of the Azure cloud infrastructure. It also includes the identity management protocols that significantly reduce the chances of unauthorized access to devices and, by extension, to your organization’s network.

Industry-leading security is what makes Azure such a great and reliable product. This ensures the protection of all your virtual machines and sensitive data. Most importantly, by keeping the environment always up-to-date, businesses will have any of their security concerns alleviated.

Role-based Access Control

Role-based access control (RBAC) is a method that improves your organization’s security by restricting network access based on the roles and unique responsibilities of employees within your organization. Using this tool helps your business by seeing to it that employees can only access what they need to perform their duties and no more. In addition, it doesn’t just regulate what resources an individual can access. It also determines what they can do with those resources.

By providing Windows 365 users with RBAC, Microsoft enables IT admins to assign permissions to users based on the needs of their duties within the organization. Restricting access to critical software and data is important for protecting the integrity of your network. Moreover, IT admins can enforce compliance especially concerning updates and security patches. And it ensures the organization is operating at optimal efficiency.

Benefits of Windows 365 Always-up-to-date Features

The features that we discuss above are integral to ensuring that your computing environment is kept up-to-date at all times. The benefits of this are several, and we’ll be exploring them below.

Enhanced Security

Cyber attacks have been a thorn in the backside of a lot of businesses in recent years. Take eyewear giant Luxottica as an example, a business that suffered a data breach that exposed the information of over 70 million clients. This kind of attack will be very damaging to any business, and others may not recover from the consequences. As we consider incidences like these, it becomes abundantly clear why businesses must try, by all means, to implement the best security measures available.

A big part of that is maintaining an always-up-to-date computing environment. The features that Windows 365 gives you to achieve this will provide you with security against known security threats. Malicious actors are constantly searching for vulnerabilities, so it’s important to apply the latest security patches and updates. Moreover, having these updates and security patches installed as soon as they become available is important. It will significantly reduce your risk of suffering at the hands of hackers.

Improved Productivity

Anyone who remembers using older devices or any device with older software will probably also notice that they are not as efficient as one would like. They will often run slower than is ideal, and applications may crash far too many times. Undoubtedly, this can be a very frustrating experience for anyone simply trying to get their work done.

As a business, this is something that will cause a noticeable drop in the efficiency of your employees. Individuals cannot be as productive as they want when they have to waste time dealing with software bugs.

The Windows 365 always-up-to-date features are designed to provide your virtual devices with the best available updates. With the improvements that you get from these updates, employees can work better and more efficiently. In some cases, applications will stop working entirely without the necessary updates. Furthermore, the application of security patches reduces your chances of downtime that may be caused by cyber-attacks.

Reduced IT Overhead

Microsoft has designed Windows 365 to be a service that is available to both big and small enterprises. As such, the cost of using the service is meant to be affordable enough to potentially lower your IT expenditure. To begin with, setting up and deploying Cloud PCs is simple enough for you not to require additional IT personnel. So you immediately have fewer costs to worry about. Because of the benefits of features like automated updates and centralized management, maintaining your IT environment is a lot less complex.

The tasks that your IT staff needs to perform become simpler. And they no longer have to spend as much time with manual updates and security patches. As a result, there is a lot more time available to dedicate to better value creation for your business.

Not only that, but with an always-up-to-date environment, IT admins will know that organizational security will significantly improve. This is something that will help them by also reducing the time that could potentially be spent dealing with software bugs or security breaches.

Scalability

Every business needs to ensure that they have the necessary tools to scale as and when necessary. If your business experiences a sudden surge in customer interest, you need to be well-placed to adequately deal with the traffic. Windows 365 has several tools available that enable businesses to scale up quickly and seamlessly without compromising service delivery. And one of the biggest advantages of this process is that the tools you use are the same ones you’re already familiar with. So the process is a relatively straightforward one.

Most importantly, however, is that this task can be carried out very securely, and your IT environment will remain well-protected. So, utilizing the always-up-to-date features means that your business will always have the best tools for your computing environment. Although we mostly talk about expanding a business, the same also applies to scaling down operations.

If the need arises to reduce the computing resources you are using, then you can scale down just as easily and securely, as well. Microsoft provides a service that can accommodate the needs of your business in a way that allows you to operate under ideal conditions.

Wrap-Up About Windows 365

The security of your computing environment is not something that you can afford to take lightly. As we have discussed in this article, several businesses have been breached. The result is the compromising of information of millions of clients. Windows 365 provides you with a cloud computing platform with the objective to adapt to your organization’s needs. And it simultaneously offers you industry-leading security measures.

With the always-up-to-date features that you get, your computing environment can perform with optimal efficiency. Not to mention the enhanced security posture you’ll benefit from because of the automated security patches available. So, if you’re looking for a cloud computing solution that is secure, won’t break the bank, and is relatively easy to maintain, then Windows 365 deserves consideration.

Top 10 reasons Why Windows 365 is a great choice

Windows 365 is a great choice for your business. As the world becomes more digital, it is important to have the right tools to stay productive and competitive. Subsequently, with this Windows solution, you can take your desktop anywhere you go, work from any device, and access your files and apps from anywhere with an internet connection.
Here are the top 10 reasons why Windows 365 is a game changer for businesses of all sizes:

To expand on each topic, simply click on the item.

Each topic will be released over the next couple of weeks, stay tuned for updates

  1. Secure and reliable: Windows 365 is built on top of the Azure platform, which provides top-notch security and reliability for your business. Additionally, your data is stored in the cloud and protected by Microsoft’s advanced security protocols, so rest assured knowing your information is safe.
  2. Scalable: Windows 365 allows you to scale up or down your computing power as your business grows or changes. Consequently, this means you can quickly add or remove users, adjust your storage capacity, and scale your resources according to your needs.
  3. Always up-to-date: With Windows 365, you will always have the latest version of Windows and Office applications. Moreover, this means you won’t have to worry about updates, patches, or upgrades. You’ll always have access to the latest features and improvements.
  4. Flexible pricing: Windows 365 offers flexible pricing options that allow you to pay only for what you need. You can select different plans based on the number of users, the amount of storage, and the computing power you need.
  5. Accessible from anywhere: With Windows 365, you can access your desktop and files from anywhere with an internet connection. For example, you can work from home, on the go, or from a remote location without any interruptions.
  6. Easy to set up: Setting up Windows 365 is easy and straightforward. You can quickly provision virtual machines, assign users, and set up policies and permissions. Additionally, you don’t need any special skills or knowledge to get started.
  7. Simplified management: Windows 365 offers a centralized management console that allows you to manage all your users, devices, and applications in one place. You can easily monitor performance, track usage, and enforce security policies.
  8. Collaborative: Windows 365 makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share files. You can set up shared folders, access permissions, and collaborative tools that allow your team to work together in real-time.
  9. Support for legacy applications: Windows 365 supports legacy applications that may not be compatible with modern operating systems. For example, you can continue using your existing applications without any compatibility issues.
  10. Green computing: By using Windows 365, you can significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint and contribute to a greener planet. Since your desktop is in the cloud, you don’t need to have a physical machine running all the time. This can help reduce your energy consumption and lower your carbon emissions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Windows 365 offers a secure, scalable, and flexible solution for businesses of all sizes. Moreover, it allows you to work from anywhere, collaborate with your team, and stay up-to-date with the latest technology. If you’re looking for a more effective way to streamline your business operations, improve your productivity, and reduce your costs, it’s definitely worth considering.

Check Autopilot Prerequisites – first update

Autopilot is an indispensable tool for managing and deploying Windows devices in the enterprise. Before deploying Autopilot, it is crucial to ensure that your environment meets the necessary prerequisites. This process can be time-consuming and prone to errors, which is why the Autopilot Prerequisite Checker has been introduced to automate the prerequisite checking process.

The Autopilot Prerequisite Checker is a PowerShell script that validates whether your environment meets the requirements for deploying Autopilot. The updated script now checks for the following prerequisites:

Tenant checks:

Check license requirements
Automatic Windows enrollment (MDM authority is set)
DNS records
Check user can join device to Azure AD
Check Enrollment Status Page
Check Windows Autopilot Deployment Profile
Check company branding

Device checks:

Windows OS version
Hardware hash uploaded to Intune
Check Windows Autopilot Deployment Profile assignment status
Updated with more devices check in version 1.0.1:
 - Windows InstallDate
 - Bios Version
 - Bios Status
 - Bios Serialnumber
 - OS Serialnumber
 - Hostname
 - Keyboardlayout
 - Timezone
 - TPM present
 - TPM Enabled
 - TPM ready

User checks:

User is licensed correctly

Network checks:

Required communication for Intune Autopilot is allowed
Updated with multiple in version 1.0.1 with more URLs

Using the script is a breeze. It can be run on any machine with PowerShell installed. Simply download the script, execute it, and wait for the results. The output will indicate whether your environment meets the necessary prerequisites for Autopilot.

Download the updated script 1.0.1

The advantages of using the updated script are numerous. It saves time by automating the prerequisite checking process, allowing you to concentrate on more crucial tasks. Additionally, it minimizes the risk of errors, ensuring that your Autopilot deployment is successful on the first attempt. Ultimately, it provides peace of mind by confirming that your environment meets the requirements for deploying Autopilot.

In summary, the Autopilot Prerequisite Checker is a robust script that simplifies the process of verifying the prerequisites for deploying Autopilot. Whether you are an IT administrator or a consultant, the Autopilot Prerequisite Checker is an essential tool for ensuring the success of your Autopilot deployment.

NOTE: THIS SCRIPT IS CONTINUALLY BEING IMPROVED – If you would like to suggest additional checks or improvements, feel free to reach out with your input.

Windows Autopilot to enroll hybrid Azure AD-joined error

I came across this issue where joining the on-premise Active Directory failed during Windows Autopilot.

The full error message from the event viewer of the machine where the Intune Connector is installed.

Intune Connector event viewer error:

RequestOfflineDomainJoinBlob_Failure: Failed to generate ODJ blob
RequestId: 9d1e4614-3217-4d7c-87ef-df7fceb648c9
DeviceId: 83c83fd7-10c8-49c8-9c15-8489ff126eed
DomainName: Mydomain.LOCAL
RetryCount: 0
ErrorDescription: Failed to call NetProvisionComputerAccount machineName=AutoP-PFv5HetaE
InstanceId: C07C1188-586C-44BD-93C1-F236A633DA9B
DiagnosticCode: 268435455
WinErrorCode: 8557
DiagnosticText: We are unable to complete your request because a server-side error occurred. Please try again. [Exception Message: “DiagnosticException: 0x0FFFFFFF. We are unable to complete your request because a server-side error occurred. Please try again.”] [Exception Message: “Failed to call NetProvisionComputerAccount machineName=AutoP-PFv5HetaE”]

The Intune Connector for your Active Directory creates Microsoft Autopilot-enrolled computers in the on-premises Active Directory domain. The computer that hosts the Intune Connector must have the rights to create the computer objects within the domain.


Microsoft Autopilot error details continued…

Follow the guide to delegate control to the computer account hosting the Intune Connector. It solved the issue in this case, as the rights was misconfigured.

  1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers (DSA.msc).
  2. Right-click the organizational unit to use to create hybrid Azure AD-joined computers > Delegate Control.The Delegate Control command.
  3. In the Delegation of Control wizard, select Next > Add > Object Types.
  4. In the Object Types pane, select the Computers > OK.The Object Types pane.
  5. In the Select Users, Computers, or Groups pane, in the Enter the object names to select box, enter the name of the computer where the Intune Connector is installed with Windows Autopilot.The Select Users, Computers, or Groups pane.
  6. Select Check Names to validate your entry > OK > Next.
  7. Select Create a custom task to delegate > Next.
  8. Select Only the following objects in the folder > Computer objects.
  9. Select Create selected objects in this folder and Delete selected objects in this folder.The Active Directory Object Type pane.
  10. Select Next.
  11. Under Permissions, select the Full Control check box. This action selects all the other options.The Permissions pane.
  12. Select Next > Finish.

Conclusion, Windows Autopilot

Review the full prerequisites: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/mem/autopilot/windows-autopilot-hybrid