Previously, we had discussed in detail the benefits of using Apple products for business, and today we will take a close look at the advantages and flaws of using Windows 10 for enterprises. For more than four decades now, Microsoft’s Windows OS has ruled individual and business computing across the globe by gaining the trust of millions of users.
Windows 10, the latest edition of this iconic operating system started its sail off the shelves from July 2015. The primary objective Microsoft wants to achieve with Windows 10 is a unified OS across the platforms including PCs, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, embedded systems, as well as game consoles such as Xbox One, the innovative whiteboard Surface Hub, and the latest head-mount 3D interactive display HoloLens.
As it was initially promised by the company, Windows 10 offers the users full prospects of platform-independent, shared application architecture, and a unified storefront for apps called Windows Store. When this is the case for individual Windows 10 users, enterprise edition has got to offer much more regarding ensuring immense support to small and large scale businesses.
Even though the critics agree that Microsoft is on the right path now, will Windows 10 be succeeding in fulfilling the company’s aspirations to continue dominance in this highly-competitive multi-device and multi-platform age? Let’s review why businesses need to consider Windows 10, and what to consider before opting for Windows 10 migration. Compared to the past, businesses planning to adopt Windows 10 Enterprise edition are offered an easier upgrade with better mobile device management (MDM) capabilities, enhanced security features, more user-friendly interface, and a simple sign-on and authentication through cloud-based Azure Active Directory.
By launching Windows 10, Microsoft commits to renew their focus on enterprises, and thereby to recover its repute from the fall of Windows 8. In every aspect, Windows 10 is devised much more than yet another OS update. It is fully set to usher the gen-Y users by offering a unified experience across devices ranging from a 4-inch smartphone to 100‑inch conference room display. The reappearance of most user-friendly features like ‘start menu’ will surely win over the end‑users whereas the high-end security and management tools will keep the IT force comfortable
As per the latest stats from January 2016, Microsoft claims that there are about 200 million monthly active users of Windows 10 globally. There is hype in enterprise users too as more than 76% of all Microsoft enterprise customers are using Windows 10 now for their pilot projects. An estimated 22 million enterprise devices are running on Windows 10 operating system. Receiving its first major update now, about 1B visitors are there to the Windows 10 app store.
In an official blog post, Microsoft also claimed that the Windows 10 uptake is now outpacing the most used previous version of Windows 7 by about 140% and the not so popular Windows 8 by about 400%.
Windows 10 for enterprise – essential features:
“First of all, it isn’t Windows 8.”
This statement itself is a reassurance to the users who were not much fond of Windows 8. The all-new Windows 10 is trying to rectify many of the major flaws of its predecessors. This is mostly evident in the design of the user interface. One can note that, unlike Windows 8, it is the much-loved Windows 7 inspired interface. With some modern touches, the desktop remains much familiar to users.
“Employee engagement is critical in organizations to ensure optimum productivity,” says Richard Edwards, The Ovum analytic expert. “Productivity is directly linked to how happy the users are, and a comfortable end-user computing environment plays vital in business.”
Now, let’s take a closer look at the major features, which make Windows 10 Pro admirable to enterprises.
- Start menu – The highly admired classic Windows ‘Start menu’ is back at Windows 10, which looks far better than Live Tiles and adjustable size. This makes Windows 10 familiar and friendly to all.
- Simple sign-on via Azure Active Directory – Windows 10 users can log on to the cloud-based services as Office 365 or Windows Store just with their Active Directory credentials. It ensures a single log-in and seamless access to multiple services.
- Enhanced mobile device management (MDM) – MDM option allows enterprises to take leverage of bring-your-own-device (BYOD). This approach will help multiple users sharing a single device to gain full control over VPN, Windows Store, and configuration of enterprise data security policies. Windows 10 allows automatic enrolling of devices into an MDM service. In heavy BYOD environments, you can also separate personal and corporate data for more security.
- Dynamic provisioning – Unlike its predecessors, Windows 10 offers a simple approach to configuring your PC and allied devices. While trying to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 devices, Windows 10 can take up the work fully by preserving all data and settings. The provision packages are very simple that even a student or non-technical person can follow the written instructions to configure a device. At the enterprise level, it can significantly reduce time and effort required in configuring multiple devices.
- Microsoft Edge – Microsoft Edge is an all-new browser by Microsoft to offer a better internet experience, which enables easy sharing, discovery, reading, and getting more things done online.
- Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) – Yet another reliable and consistent browser for enterprise web apps by ensuring security, performance, backward compatibility, manageability, and meets all modern standards to support larger web app portfolios.
- Enterprise Data Protection – Windows 10 makes it easier to do data separation. Unlike third-party security solutions, Windows 10 does not require containers, but can protect data as by simply being present on the device.
- Microsoft Passport – This is a two-factor password alternative, which is accessible by using PIN number or Windows Hello, ensuring enterprise-grade security. It also supports facial, fingerprint, and iris recognition.
- Conditional access – Device Health Attestation cloud service of Windows 10 used in union with the management systems as Microsoft Intune will offer limited access services, which will prevent any unauthorized devices from gaining access to crucial corporate data.
On the other hand, some random views on the perceived flaws of Windows 10 include:
Cost Factor – Michael Silver of Gartner points out that “Even if Windows 10 upgrade is free, enterprises must consider the total cost of migration, which may much more than simple OS license fee”. The cost will be significantly lesser compared to Windows XP to 7 migration, but it will still be costly.”
Missing media center & DVD player – Many of the Microsoft users are used to Windows Media Center, which is not going to happen in a Windows 10 PC. You cannot upgrade the OS with Windows Media Center preserved and you cannot install a WMC on Windows 10 machine. It is evident that Microsoft wants you to check out Xbox, but with hundreds of options around, this is a restriction.
Privacy concerns – Even though it can be claimed that Microsoft may need free access to all kinds of data to give you a personalized service, the trade-offs between features and privacy is still in question. In fact, Microsoft makes no comments about the information it gathers through Windows 10.
Overall, it is a good idea for enterprises to move on to the more flexible and reliable platform of Windows 10. However, claiming to be the last OS in the Windows series, we can expect Microsoft will fix all the flaws of Win10 on the go to fine tune it.