A recent concern for businesses lies in return-to-work initiatives. While there are social and emotional aspects that drive these decisions, for business leaders, there are also technological considerations. Leadership cannot expect productivity and efficiency from their employees with outdated, slow, or error-prone equipment. Employees need proper tools to be productive, regardless of where they’re working. After three years of users working remotely, hybrid, or entirely in the office, hybrid work is here to stay. Regardless of the current work environment or what it may evolve into in the future, organizations can put themselves in the strongest position possible by adopting proven cloud technologies and platforms. Implementing Microsoft Windows 365 is a strong step in that journey.
Emerging technology challenges in the workplace
Companies did what was necessary to ensure that their businesses stayed open and as productive as possible through difficult times. Today, with the economy down and tight budgets, even in the largest of companies, the following challenges are emerging:
- End user laptops and desktops stored at the office have become outdated and are approaching their end of life. This leaves organizations facing a major capital investment to keep employees well equipped and productive.
- Contracts for IT security suites and solutions are coming up for renewal. The three-year contracts organizations signed at the beginning of the pandemic, which offered discounted services supporting remote work are lapsing. Often, the price to renew is significant.
- The workforce that was hired remotely has been using their own devices. Businesses did little or nothing to protect corporate data and secure access to organizational resources.
Based on these circumstances, there has never been a better time to make changes to give employees what they need to be most valuable and to extend the impact of technology budgets.
Benefits of a Windows 365 solution
Virtual computers and virtual desktop infrastructure used to be off the beaten path. In the past few years, Windows 365 gained a lot of traffic as companies try to navigate hybrid work plans to improve productivity and security without sacrificing business requirements.
Windows 365 is for organizations of all sizes that need secure and agile hybrid work solutions. These solutions support elastic workforces, distributed employees, bring your own device policies. They can also cater to specialized workloads with versatile computing and storage capabilities and are accessible from any device. This is because Windows 365 securely streams Windows desktops, apps, settings, and content from the Microsoft Cloud to Cloud PCs. Therefore, you can access a personalized Windows 10 or Windows 11 Cloud PC experience from any Windows, iOS, or Android device. Further, with Windows 365, organizations have more options to build the best computing environment for a particular user or role. This could be a PC with a locally installed operating system (OS), a Cloud PC with a cloud-based OS, or a combination of both.
Microsoft focuses on ensuring users' apps work with its latest versions. As a result, Windows 365 was built with compatibility in mind. Apps that worked on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11 also work on Windows 365. Additionally, users can connect to their Cloud PC from any platform that has either the Microsoft Remote Desktop app or an HTML5-capable browser to access the web client. This means that you can give your present fleet of older equipment a fresh life. Additionally, employees who are using their own home equipment can access company resources on a Cloud PC that you control. Overall, Microsoft enables companies to do more with less. This can eliminate the need for expensive third-party security products, consolidate resources and operations on the Microsoft Cloud technology stack, and reduce costs, retaining your technology budget for other efforts.
Implementing Windows 365
Windows 365 is far less complex than traditional virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. Similar to how migrating your email service to Microsoft 365 simplifies IT administration, Windows 365 shifts much of the burden of maintaining workstations on to Microsoft. At a high level, a Windows 365 deployment includes the following phases:
- Organizations choose their Cloud PC sizes based on CPU, RAM, and disk requirements.
- They select a Cloud PC design from three options. These depend on whether a business wants to use Azure Active Directory, support existing on-premises Active Directory, or use existing Azure virtual network connectivity.
- Azure step-by-step wizards help to build Cloud PC policies.
- Organizations configure and assign Intune management policies. These can range from simple quality of life settings to full-blown device restrictions and application deployment configurations.
- They procure and assign licenses.
- Cloud PCs are automatically provisioned, and users connect via Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) or a browser from anywhere.
Windows 365 is a tool for companies, big and small, struggling to find the right balance in our hybrid world. As with public cloud infrastructure, a key benefit of Windows 365 is its elasticity and ability to support rapid growth. If you are looking for a solution that provides more control and flexibility, Microsoft also offers Azure Virtual Desktop, which delivers identical benefits.
Citrin Cooperman's Digital Services Practice helps clients unlock a modern workplace where they are not forced to continually refresh costly computers every three to four years, employees can start work from their home and pick up right where they left off on a desktop in the office, and enjoy the same productive working experience regardless of location. To learn more about Windows 365 and how it can empower your employees to achieve greater success, reach out to your Citrin Cooperman advisor or Kris Scuteri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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