A few weeks after the launch of Windows 11, Microsoft announced Windows 365. It's a cloud computing service that allows you to stream a Windows computer to any suitable device with an internet connection. Whether on another PC, tablet or smartphone, you can access your virtual computer from anywhere.
This service is part of Microsoft's push into the emerging hybrid work setup. But how does it work and who is it for exactly?
Windows 365: A hybrid Windows for a hybrid world
As work moved away from the office, the need for cloud-based solutions increased steadily. From using free online collaboration tools to video conferencing software, organizations have had to support their employees with their work.
Enter Windows 365. Windows 365 puts you in control of a cloud PC and gives you access to your work computer via the cloud. That means any device you own, whether it's a laptop for the office or your personal tablet, can stream your work computer through a browser.
You may be wondering, "Why should I stream a computer to my computer?" But there is more to it than that.
Work across devices via a cloud PC
For example, let's say you work at home and use your laptop to access your company's cloud PC. Then you had to leave your home, either to go to the office or just to have a coffee at the local store. Instead of taking your laptop with you, you can bring your tablet with you instead. This would already save you some weight as most tablets are much lighter than a typical laptop.
And when you've settled outside of your home, you can access your company's cloud PC on your mobile device. Even if you open it in your tablet's browser, the performance will be the same as on your laptop. When you open the cloud PC on your tablet, you will also see it in the state in which you left it on your laptop.
Using a cloud PC to access specialized hardware
Here is another use case for that. For example, let's say you're a 3D modeler working on petabytes of data on your office workstation. If you have to work from home, you cannot do your work on your personal laptop. It doesn't have the storage or computing power to do what you need.
With Windows 365 you have the same performance as your home office. This is because the computing power is housed on Microsoft's servers. All you do is access it through your personal device.
Use a cloud PC's internet connection with your own
Another advantage of Windows 365 is the lightning-fast internet. Since you are essentially streaming the cloud PC's monitor, all the files you need are on the server. So if you download large amounts of data from any source, do not download it to the computer in your location. Instead, download it to Microsoft's data centers.
Because of this, downloads only take a moment. Microsoft even demonstrated a speed test. In their run, they were able to achieve download speeds of up to 10 GBPS and upload speeds of up to 4 GBPS.
Benefits of Windows 365 for IT administrators
Windows 365 was designed to make life easier for the IT administrator. You no longer have to set up and maintain network and software infrastructure as you can manage all users and devices via Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM).
With MEM, the administrator can manage both physical and virtual devices in one app. You can deploy software, add virtual machines, and even upgrade capacity. Administrators can also see how much computing power each member is consuming. This allows them to allocate resources as needed.
Onboarding a new team member no longer requires a lot of effort from administrators. You just have to make sure that the new member is part of the corporate network. And if they have a free license, they can instantly assign that person a virtual PC. And in less than an hour, they'll be assigned a new Windows 365 account.
And should you need a more powerful computer, the administrator only has to assign a better system with MEM. You no longer have to wait for someone to buy you a physical PC. On the other hand, if you don't maximize your virtual PC, your administrator could lower their specs. This ensures that no additional computing power is wasted.
Network performance monitoring is also built into Windows 365. Since the service is run by Microsoft's servers, they can continuously check your system and run diagnostics. If they discover an error, the administrator will be notified immediately. They would also make recommendations on how to fix the problem.
Windows 365 offers even better security
Since the cloud PC is not installed directly on your device, it is inherently more secure. This is because only administrators have complete control over it. When accessed through a browser or app, it is isolated from most threats.
To protect company data, administrators can set up multi-factor authentication and conditional access. This ensures that only authorized users actually access the system.
Who is Windows 365 for?
Windows 365 is not designed for the consumer market. Instead, it is intended for businesses and businesses that need to deploy a network over a large area. It was also designed to allow businesses to use computing power however they want.
The cloud PC will revolutionize business computing. Companies no longer have to invest in high-end systems to meet the needs of their employees. All you need is a reliable internet connection and an entry-level computer as a client for Windows 365.
Best of all, companies can subscribe to this service on a monthly basis. You don't have to invest large sums of money to get computers that you may not be using 100 percent of the time. With the cloud PC, you can buy additional computing power as required. This enables them to use their resources more efficiently.
Is Windows 365 the future of enterprise computing?
Many developers, including Microsoft, are now switching to the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model. Some find this inconvenient because they are used to paying once for programs. However, SaaS enables companies to use software as needed. This enables companies to use their resources more efficiently.
With Windows 365, Microsoft is taking this business model one step further. They are now offering hardware functionality as a subscription service. Companies can do without investing in expensive infrastructure and equipment. Because if you need additional network and computing power, you only have to rent it from Microsoft.
A new Windows service for a new world of work
As the world shifts to a hybrid workplace, Microsoft wants to adapt to it with Windows 365. Cloud computing has its own strengths, and perhaps Microsoft's latest service will help establish Hardware-as-a-Service as the new norm.
Windows 365 is great for people who like WFH. And if you don't know what "WFH" means, it's time to find out how this acronym has entered our vocabulary over the past few months.
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About the author
(31 published articles)
Jowi is a writer, career coach and pilot. He has developed a love of everything PC since his father bought a desktop computer when he was 5 years old. Since then, he has been using and maximizing technology in every aspect of his life.
By Jowi Morales
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