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With Windows 10, Microsoft is making a full push toward the cloud-based computing services seen in Office 365.

Here are a few things you need to know to get started with Windows 10 for Enterprise.

Windows as a Service

The idea behind Windows as a Service is that, rather than monolithic upgrades offered every three years or so, Windows will be continually updated with new features that are made available via the update process.

Rather than wait for a major release of Windows to make new features available, Microsoft will “slipstream” the new features into Windows as they are developed.  This provides better ability to support new devices and mobility.

Windows 10 may very well be the last major Windows release we ever see, as it moves toward a “versionless” Windows.

Controlled Updates for Enterprise

Enterprise users often have different needs than consumers. While consumers often want to be early adopters, enterprises need to control deployment of updates to allow testing for compatibility with existing software and systems.

Current Branch for Business (CBB) allows PCs to receive feature updates several months after they’re pushed to the current version of Windows, allowing IT time to validate quality, security, and compatibility. Then users are able to choose between Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, or Windows Server Update Services to push the updates.

In addition, Long Term Servicing Branch allows Windows updates not related to security or fixes to be deferred for up to a decade.

IT Power Tools

In addition to these new features, Windows 10 also includes new features and programs for enterprise users to assist IT in managing multiple devices over a large network that stretches beyond geographic borders.

Internet Explorer Enterprise Mode

Corporate intranet sites weren’t always designed with browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox in mind. While Microsoft updates its classic IE browser to compete with these browsers, Windows 10 Enterprise includes an Enterprise Mode that allows for compatibility monitoring and management.

Azure Active Directory

Azure AD is Microsoft’s cloud-based directory and identity management service that provides single sign-on access to Office365, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more. Azure has been integrated into Windows 10, giving users single sign-on access by linking Windows machines to a work account managed by Azure.

Mobile Device Management

Not only can desktops and network printers be monitored and managed by IT – Windows 10 allows central management of phones, tablets, laptops, and any other devices running Windows 10. This allows IT to integrate these devices into current network security tools.

Sideloading Apps

Introduced with Windows 8, Windows 10 also allows for sideloading line of business (LOB) apps. Sideloading allows apps that aren’t publicly available in the Windows store to be installed on Windows 10 devices. This is vital for enterprise users who often deploy third-party proprietary apps to enable enterprise-grade security.

Device Guard

Although sideloading is available, it also needs to be controlled on enterprise machines. This is accomplished with Device Guard, which allows IT to restrict a device to run only trusted software. Applications which do not meet the requirements of the enterprise trust policy will not run. Device Guard prevents a rogue employee from loading an unapproved program that may harbor a virus or other malware on work devices.

Enterprise Data Protection 

Specific safeguards are continuously being added to Windows 10’s Data Protection features. Data Protection uses a containerization file technique to keep personal and enterprise data separate in the backend while front-end users reportedly only experience minimal impact on productivity.

A variety of encryption options also keep enterprise users safe from misdirected emails and loss of device. With online and cloud security remaining a hot topic among regulators, Microsoft’s steps to protect enterprise data from leaking to the public is admirable.

Windows 10 is being touted by many as one of the best operating systems on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. The move to Platform as a Service will change the way that enterprises manage Windows deployments but Microsoft has provided the tools needed to smooth the transition.

With the help of ONLC, you can stay up to date on Windows 10 for Enterprise and how to use it effectively in your career.

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