Windows Cloud PC
With Windows 365, Microsoft is moving the Windows operating system into the cloud. This means that anyone using Windows 365 gets access to all Microsoft apps and accesses them via a virtual desktop, regardless of the end device. But what are the real advantages of Windows 365 Cloud PC?
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What is Windows 365?
Windows 365 is Microsoft’s new virtual desktop cloud service. Since Microsoft unveiled the new Windows 365 Cloud PC at the international Microsoft Inspire conference on August 2, 2021, companies have been able to use the Windows operating system as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) exclusively via the cloud. In doing so, Windows is adapting to the demand for hybrid work models and flexible access to the Windows operating system. Windows 365 is based on Azure Virtual Desktop and lets users access Windows from any device. Stored data, settings, and Windows apps reside in the Azure Cloud and are therefore accessible from PCs, laptops, as well as tablets and smartphones.
Originally, the Windows Cloud PC was geared towards gamers, but Windows is now focusing on the needs of businesses that want to give employees easy access to the work desktop through the new Windows 365 plan. As a virtual desktop service, Windows 365 is part of the new productivity cloud Microsoft 365, which offers various Microsoft cloud services for hybrid work and user models.
How does a cloud PC work?
To understand how Windows 365 works, you need to understand what a cloud PC is in the first place. When using a cloud PC like Windows 365, you download the operating system (for example Windows 10 or 11) not from the hard drive, but by means of cloud computing in the browser or via special software. In doing so, you use the Windows desktop as a virtual PC and have access to your data and programs on all devices. The only requirements are Internet access and a browser that supports HTML5.
When using the Windows 365 Cloud PC, Windows stores all Office apps, settings, and work data in the cloud. This includes Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Power Point presentations, or animations. This lets you save storage space by automatically backing up data to the Azure Cloud, which you can access from anywhere. Users can easily access Windows 365 via windows365.microsoft.com.
What’s new about Windows 365?
The big news about Windows 365 is that companies offering hybrid work models can rely on high security and encryption. Whether employees access the cloud PC from new or older end devices is secondary. All processes run over highly secure Microsoft servers, providing a protected work environment with all the benefits of the Windows Enterprise model. In addition, depending on the Microsoft 365 plan, there are numerous optional security features for IT admins. As of October 2021, Windows 365 still uses the virtual Windows 10 Pro. With the introduction of Windows 11, the new Windows operating system can also be optionally launched via the cloud.
Who can use Windows 365 Cloud PC?
Windows Cloud PC is available for businesses of all sizes. You can use the cloud-based Windows environment with Windows 365 Business or Windows 365 Enterprise. The hybrid Windows operating system is suitable for the whole variety of new, flexible, as well as traditional ways of working. Employees can be quickly integrated into the workflow by gaining instant access to their company’s tools and resources from anywhere. The personalized cloud PC can also be streamed to any device, giving users working from home, the office, or on the go access to all Windows applications through the Windows 365 portal.
- Windows 365 Business: Is geared towards expanding businesses and the self-employed. The Business version offers a cloud PC that supports up to 300 employees or users.
- Windows 365 Enterprise: Geared towards large enterprises, it offers a cloud PC that supports an unlimited number of employees and remains flexibly scalable. An Azure subscription from Microsoft is mandatory in the Enterprise version.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Windows 365 Cloud PC?
- Flexible access to the Windows operating system including Office apps, files, settings, and programs via the Microsoft cloud
- Device-independent use of the virtual desktop (both new and legacy endpoints are supported)
- Enables hybrid work models with integrated remote work
- Easy user management via the Windows 365 portal or Windows Endpoint Manager
- Flexible and unlimited scalability in the Enterprise version
- Secure IT infrastructure thanks to security-optimized Windows processes and protected Microsoft servers
- Cost and effort savings through outsourcing to Windows cloud servers
- Data is secured centrally in the cloud and protected against data loss
- For hybrid work models, a good network connection and Internet access is a prerequisite
- Older non-Windows programs may not be compatible with current Windows operating systems
- Only available as a Windows subscription
- Regular updates or automatic Windows updates may cause compatibility issues
- Responsibility for data security and system integrity is largely outsourced