Microsoft believes Windows 10 will be a transformative technology for businesses, offering a user-centric platform that will increase productivity as the lines between home and office become increasingly blurred.
Speaking at IP EXPO in London, Microsoft’s Rob Epstein outlined his firm’s vision for the enterprise – creating more personal computing, transforming productivity and building intelligent cloud – goals which he said could transform IT and organisations.
“We need to get back to not letting the IT control us. We are very aware of the demand of users today. They have more data, more apps and want to be connected. What’s different is users care: they want the latest devices and are willing to pay.”
This sentiment has directly influenced the development of Windows 10. Epstein said that for a business technology to make employees more productive, they must enjoy using it. One of the reasons why Windows 10 has been so well received is that it combines the usability of Windows 7 while refining many of the features introduced in Windows 8. For example, the Start Button has been restored, while settings have been simplified and ties with the cloud strengthened.
The ability for Windows 10 to run on multiple devices and with more ‘natural’ inputs like touch and pen controls is also central to this aim.
But while much of the attention has been focused on the consumer aspects of Windows 10, Microsoft says there is much for IT departments to love, especially as t
“We need to help deliver solutions that help drive this transformation,” he said. “But we need to do this in a secure way. IT budgets are being cut and security threats are more sophisticated than ever before.”
Central to this is the promise of continuous updates rather than major releases as has happened in the past.
“We can’t sit back and release a new OS every few years,” declared Steve Newby, Windows 10 lead at Microsoft. “It needs to continually evolve.”
In addition to this vision of Windows-as-a-Service (WaaS), administrators will also be able to curate and distribute custom apps through the Windows Store. But its security where Windows 10 can help the most.
From the dark days of Windows XP, which caused Microsoft to focus on security like never before – to the point that development of Visa was delayed significantly – Windows 10 has a number of features that could save time and money.
“The cost [of security] is astronomical,” said Newby, who identified biometrics as an example of how security can be done on the cheap. Windows 10 allows for fingerprint and iris recognition with Windows Hello, meaning users don’t have to worry about passwords and save companies the $25 is costs to deal with forgotten login details.
“Passwords are a technology that’s been around almost the start of computing,” continued Newby. “It’s relatively easy to compromise and relatively easy to forget. We want to move away from this concept.
“[Biometric] technology is built into the hardware.”
Another area is data protection, he said, which is becoming increasingly important as employees start to use a single device for work and play. Windows 10 makes it easier to secure and update mobile devices in the cloud and can containerise personal and business apps and data to minimise the threat of a breach.
“It’s a transformation of Windows from something delivered every three years to one updated as a service,” added Epstein. “If IT is going to deliver this transformation, we need to focus on what IT can stop doing.”
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