Are you looking to add a virtual desktop solution to your environment? Windows 365 could be the solution you’re looking for. In this blog we’ll be exploring what Windows 365 is and what it can do for your environment.
The topics covered include:
- What is Windows 365?
- How you can setup and manage Windows 365?
- How secure is Windows 365?
- Windows 365 end user experience
- Windows 365 pricing
- Some common use cases
What is Windows 365?
Windows 365 allows you to provide your users with a Cloud PC (a virtual desktop), that provides your users with the same experience as accessing Windows locally. Simplicity is the name of the game with Windows 365, you can provision a Cloud PC in just a few clicks, and users can access their Cloud PC on any device with an internet connection (this includes laptops, tablets and smartphones running a wide range of operating systems).
As the name suggests, Windows 365 Cloud PCs run fully on the cloud, meaning that the cloud can do the heavy lifting rather than the user’s physical device.
Windows 365 device setup and management
As we’ve mentioned above, Microsoft’s goal with Windows 365 is to provide you with a virtual desktop solution that’s easy to setup, manage and use.
A Windows 365 Cloud PC can be created and deployed within a matter of minutes. Once a Cloud PC has been provisioned, it can be managed through Intune the same as you would any physical device. There’s also the ability to create a custom OS image if you would like; alternatively you can use an out of the box image provided by Microsoft.
If you’re concerned about the security of your data, all your policies can be added to Cloud PCs the same as they would any device. If you’re worried about users copying data from their Cloud PC to their own device, utilising configuration settings built within Intune such as app protection and conditional access can support towards data loss prevention.
If you would like to see a demo of how to configure a Windows 365 Cloud PC, check out this video below from our Solutions Consultant Steve Beaumont:
The end user experience
It’s fair to say that one of the main blockers when it comes to adopting virtual desktops is concern over a confusing experience for the user. Windows 365 however, couldn’t be easier to use, providing a seamless transition from the user’s desktop to their cloud pc.
There are two ways that a user can access their Cloud PC:
- Through a web browser, when doing this the entire virtual desktop experience will be contained within the browser. Logging in through a web browser can be done on any device with a HTML 5 compatible browser.
- Through the remote desktop app.
All the user needs to do for both methods is login using their credentials and they’re in. This can be layered with conditional access and multi-factor authentication.
The end user experience for Windows 365 is exactly the same as a desktop or laptop that’s running Windows 11. The experience will be a familiar one for your users, so there’ll be no need for long training sessions on how to use it; team members will be up and running in no time.
If you would like to see a demo of the end user experience, check out the video below:
Windows 365 pricing model
Windows 365 works on a flat fee per month pricing model, giving users 24/7 access to their Cloud PC.
You can configure your Cloud PCs to have different specifications. You will be able to select the CPU, RAM and storage; the more power you select, the higher the price will be. You can take a look at the current pricing here.
Windows 365 use cases
So, Windows 365 sounds great, but what can it do for you?
We’ll look at some common use cases for Windows 365 so you can see what it can add to your environment.
Now that most businesses have team members working from locations other than the office, IT teams are spending time building and shipping out devices when they don’t need to. You can use Windows 365 to give remote workers access to their own corporate desktop, that they can access on their personal device.
Multiple people using the same device
Does your business have multiple people using the same physical device on different shift patterns? Using Windows 365 would allow each user in the device to have their own bespoke device on the cloud. Now whenever a user logs into their Cloud PC they will have access to all their apps and files exactly as they were when their session was last suspended.
Seasonal workers & third-party contractors
When working with contractors or seasonal workers you need to give temporary access to your data. As mentioned, you can give these workers access to a corporate device without having to send a physical device out to them. Paying for a few months of access to a Cloud PC will most likely be cheaper than buying and shipping out a new device.
If you’re worried that contractors could steal your data, remember that Windows 365 can carry over all your policies and data can’t be copied over to their device, including taking screenshots.
Once a temporary worker’s contracted time has ended, you can easily revoke access and cancel your subscription, so there’s no risk of anyone accessing corporate data.
Broken physical devices
A broken laptop can cause hours, or even days, of downtime. Sending out a new device to someone working from home can take a long time. Setting up a Cloud PC allows users to continue working using their own device while they’re waiting for a new laptop. You can give access to all the user’s files and apps so they can work without interruption.
Needing more power
Many corporate devices aren’t powerful enough to perform tasks or run software that has high system requirements. Not having enough power is incredibly frustrating for users as they can’t get their job done. The power of the cloud can do the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to buy an expensive physical device.
To wrap up, Windows 365 is a virtual desktop solution that’s incredibly easy to setup and access.
- You can setup a Cloud PC within minutes
- Management is exactly the same as any of your devices managed within Intune
- The experience for the end user is the same as Windows 11
- There’s a monthly subscription cost that’s dictated by the amount of power and storage you need