In 2020, the pandemic brought the world to a near screeching halt—and we’re only just beginning on the path to recovery. Fortunately, we had enough technology to keep things moving when things began to slow down. From facilitating biological and medical research to treat and thwart COVID-19 to providing platforms for work, socializing, and education, our tech let us carry on with our lives. But the massive technological demand did come with a price tag: inventory constraints and supply chain disruption left the world scrambling for even an etch-a-sketch to use to work from home.
Technology has had to evolve more rapidly than ever because of the global pandemic. While there was a myriad of technological advances over the past year, the recent release of Windows 365 Cloud PC comes at a time where the problems it solves are not just “pain points”—it allows us to resolve major roadblocks to the ways we conduct business, socialize, and teach and learn online.
The Benefits of Windows 365
The challenges we are facing because of the pandemic are not likely to fade away any time soon. For example, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, China has plans to keep their border restrictions for at least another year, which will no doubt hamper international business operations. Any economic recovery, anywhere in the world, will be hindered by new outbreaks of the virus, as well as restrictions put in place to slow its spread. Instead of focusing on innovation, engineers at one of the largest investors in hardware startups are scrambling to source components to ship to partners across the world.
So, in a time where hardware is not only uncertain, but constrained and limited at best, Windows 365 gives you the ability to purchase a PC based on your needs with almost zero restrictions. No matter the hardware you have, you can customize Windows 365 to meet your specific needs on a per user basis—gone are the days of battling with shipment and lead time issues. Instead of needing to order new devices, you can just deploy Windows 365 to existing devices, which can also help your business reduce its carbon footprint.
Microsoft has recently highlighted one of Windows 365’s valuable use cases. A remote Canadian territory, Nunavut relies solely on satellite-based infrastructure, and VDI technology has been their only option for connecting with other parts of Canada and the world. With Windows 365, they can use any available hardware and have their own personalized version of Windows ready to use. Now engineers, architects, and nurses have access to the communication and collaboration tools they need. They can also return or travel to the other end of Canada to clinics and workspaces and log in with the same access they left off with, thanks to the “PC in the cloud that follows you wherever you go.”
Pricing, Editions, and Licensing
Easy to use and easy to manage, Windows 365 offers a premium, familiar yet innovative experience for both users and your IT team. For IT admins, infrastructure is no longer a factor with deployment and management, which is consistent with current management tools such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Azure AD. Provisioning is no more complicated than assigning an Exchange Online license to a user.
You can choose from two editions of products, Business or Enterprise. The Business edition is intended for small and medium businesses of up to 300 users with no license prerequisites and no domain setup. Business licenses are also offered at a discount with the Windows hybrid benefit for customers with an existing Windows 10/11 pro license. With qualifying licenses, Windows 365 Enterprise can be purchased for an unlimited number of users and is for organizations that want to manage their Cloud PCs with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and take advantage of integrations with other Microsoft services, including Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.
Once you determine which edition is right for your organization, you can choose specs based on CPUs, RAM, and storage needs. Users can run specs that supersede the physical hardware to achieve astounding operating speeds, regardless of network connections or hardware capability. A Windows 365 license is then simply assigned as a Cloud PC Windows instance, and they are granted a new dedicated Windows device. Any device that can connect to the Internet can connect to a Windows 365 Cloud PC, but a traditional keyboard and mouse setup offers the most optimal experience.
And you can rest assured apps that worked on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 will work with Windows 365. Microsoft is committed to ensuring your apps are compatible, even extending help to fix them if you experience issues at no additional cost with your subscription.
Technology is the framework of the human mind, the tangible results of imagination and innovation. We never see the future coming because of our traditionally linear thinking. To embrace change and capitalize on the innovations as a result of evolution not only means survival, it means a trajectory of inspiration coming to life in ways we can’t possibly predict. Microsoft is riding this wave already, with a corporate mission “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” So, I challenge you to rethink how you view change and to leverage the technological advances and partners at the forefront such as Microsoft and Connection to help you lay your own scaffolding of imagination for the greater good in this ever-changing world.