Here comes Windows 10 for the enterprise

Here comes Windows 10 for the enterprise

The much-awaited Microsoft Windows 10 operating system debuted July 29 for consumer and pro users, but the enterprise version is not far behind.  The launch for volume licensees begins Aug. 1.

The Windows 10 release marks the first time Microsoft has broadly offered an upgrade from certain older versions of Windows to the latest version at no additional cost for most consumers in an effort to meet its goal of 1 billion users on the Windows 10 platform by 2018.

The new operating system blends the familiar and popular UI of Windows 7 with the touch capabilities of Windows 8. In addition to better usability for touch, major feature enhancements in Windows 10 include integration of the Cortana personal digital assistant; the end of Internet Explorer in favor of Microsoft's new Edge browser; new security features; more flexible windowing for multi-tasking; and new deployment and management options.

With the new OS, Microsoft promised the user experience will be clean and transparent across all Windows 10 devices, with the OS adapting to the hardware on which it's installed. Onscreen features, like menus and taskbars, will adapt to their platform for easy navigation, and apps will scale smoothly so they look good on both phones and multi-monitor desktop displays.

"Windows 10 is going to run on everything from a Raspberry Pi to phones to tablets to PCs to Surface Hubs and to even the HoloLens," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said earlier this month at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Orlando. "We're going to have this one unified platform, one unified experience, and that to me is a key differentiator of what Windows stands for."

Windows 10 also marks Microsoft's move to continuous upgrades. Rather than waiting for a major release, the company said it will both provide new features and deliver security updates via automatic updates to consumer and business customers.

Enterprise customers, on the other hand, will have options in their upgrade choices, being able to “opt-in to the fast-moving consumer update pace, or lock-down mission critical environments to receive only security and critical updates to their systems,” according to a Microsoft blog.

And while Microsoft has eased the upgrade path for consumers in ways that should speed adoption, enterprise users have expressed more caution about the new OS. A survey conducted at Microsoft's Ignite conference showed the vast majority of enterprise customers won't deploy the upcoming new Windows 10 for at least six months, with nearly half (49 percent) saying they will wait more than a year to upgrade.

Microsoft is especially stressing security to potential government customers.  In a June 29 Microsoft on Government blog post, the company noted that Windows 10 offers integrated two-factor authentication, and will soon provide "Enterprise Data Protection" -- an "encryption container that follows [agency] data where ever it goes," and prevents such data from being copied outside of approved files and locations.

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