Disclosure: Microsoft is a customer of the author.
This week, Microsoft held an analyst event on Windows 11 and various productivity, management, and security features planned by the company. Over the past two years, Microsoft has made significant improvements to Windows and Office 365, but the big change coming is the potential blending of Windows with Windows 365. We’ll see that begin by the end of the year. The end game should be what appears to be a Windows desktop that integrates so well with the cloud that it can, if necessary, seamlessly switch between instances to comply with company policy, ensure security, and provide automatic on-demand fallback from Azure Cloud.
Delay on OS updates becomes more risky
One of the big improvements in Windows 10 and 11 is security. Until the early 2000s, Microsoft didn’t take security seriously and left it to companies like McAfee and Symantec to fill in the gaps. It was the only lesson Microsoft should have learned from IBM in the 1980s, although it eventually learned the lesson. Today, Microsoft’s focus on security is not only serious, but has also grown impressively year over year.
It also means that the company acts much faster to deal with security threats and restructures Windows for those threats. In the past, there was little incentive to do so outside of usability and user interface changes (which in Vista and especially Windows 8 worked against early deployment). Today, the risk of staying on an older version is the increased likelihood of credentials being compromised, systems being penetrated, and systems that haven’t been updated becoming a host for malware. , especially ransomware.
I’m a former internal auditor, and my team used to penalize people for making sound but foolish decisions, like delaying an OS upgrade when that decision opened the company up to attack. By penalize, I mean that these employees were terminated. Today’s risk landscape is so extreme that practices must favor an approach that focuses more on protecting against malware and cares less about limiting upgrade difficulties.
Businesses may also prefer Secure Core PCs in their specs for the same reason: they offer the best protections for hardware, software, firmware, access, and credentials without hurting productivity. It has simply become far too risky to postpone changes that maximize your security profile. Being up-to-date on the operating system, up-to-date on patches, and having the most secure hardware can go a long way in ensuring that the next breach happens to another company. Microsoft even created a unique security processor called Pluto, which should now be in your PC’s specs.
Windows 11 + Windows 365 and the future
As soon as Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft, the company began to transition from a desktop operating system and software platform to a software and cloud platform company. It’s no surprise Microsoft is now starting to integrate the two offerings. First, it will allow businesses to maintain cloud instances of Windows that are potentially much more secure than desktop computers — and they can remain secure, even on consumer hardware. At first, this will allow increasingly seamless movement between the two environments, and each environment will be lock-proof. Thus, if one side is compromised, the other will not be infected.
Users will be able to move between environments so easily that they will automatically pull cloud services as needed, whether it’s a hybrid or cloud-only environment, never knowing or caring about the difference.
Microsoft talked about a host of other features to better organize files and folders; provide greater flexibility for hybrid working; and improve remote management and provisioning. But it’s the big improvements in security and cloud integration that will make the biggest difference. The former will push ever more aggressive upgrade cycles to deal with growing threats; the second goes in the direction of automating all aspects of workstation management, with artificial intelligence (AI) technology dynamically adapting to the functioning of each user.
The idea of using AI to uniquely alter the user experience based on how you use the tool is AI’s greatest promise – systems that adapt to you rather than you. ‘reverse. When this begins rolling out shortly, it will forever change the Windows experience and could be a bigger step forward than Windows 95 represented.
Microsoft is stepping up its fascinating advancements later this year. I can’t wait to try them.
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Windows 11 — We Haven’t Seen Anything Yet
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