The release of Microsoft’s Windows 10 platform is a pretty big deal for all UK businesses and will certainly create some waves when it is finally released in just under a month. Its true impact will be meaningful to us all for many years to come. People have asked does Windows 10 has enough differences from prior versions (Win7, Win8/8.1 or WinXP) to lead me to believe that this is not business as usual. It is important to understand how this release differs from prior releases and what actions organizations should take as part of their due diligence.
Well, there are plenty of new and interesting components to Windows 10, far too many to adequately cover here. Rather, I suggest enterprises begin their own research (https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/en-US/training-courses/getting-started-with-windows-10-for-it-professionals-10629) on the changes and features that they will likely encounter. For us, the most interesting parts are:
- How users will acquire Windows 10
- How old and new applications will work together
- How the new methods of performing Windows administration will change what administrators do on a day to day basis.
Initial excitement because of free consumer upgrades: We expect that the desire for Win10 will be strong from the get-go, in large part because consumers can get the upgrade from a previous version of Windows for free. And while organizations believe that they may be isolated from the world of consumer, the never-ending drumbeat of consumerization, BYOD/BYOPC, and self-empowered users will add pressures to IT staff to support Windows 10 in some fashion sooner rather than later. Free consumer upgrades will likely act as a catalyst for some organizations to move more quickly than they will like. And if your users are already running an older version of Windows with administrative privileges on a corporate PC today, there is a very strong likelihood that they will attempt an in-place upgrade with or without you.
Better Security in and out of the OS: The current state of security on older versions of Windows is complex, fragile, costly, and incomplete. Relying on agent-based security is only partially effective and is subject to compromise. With Windows 10 Microsoft has added many features to improve user and organizational data security. Features such as data policies, privileged applications, per-application VPNs, secure boots, and health attestation will all help the beleaguered Windows administrator. Further, Microsoft has also introduced/improved many polices associated with encryption, antivirus, firewalls, compliance, and enterprise wipe/factory resets.
Most of us will be diligently testing Windows 10 for the next 3-9 months, and with good reason. The cadence of updates, management features not yet available, and application regression testing (both old and new apps) are just some of the action items you will run into. A more rational approach may be to deploy Windows 10 to the right users when needed, and a slower and less disruptive deployment to others business groups over a period of months/years will be less risky. This means that organizations will continue to manage the diversity and legacy platforms within their environment.