Windows 11 is an “important” update for security, productivity and collaboration
Solution providers on Thursday applauded the updates Microsoft unveiled for Windows 11, saying the new operating system is poised to improve hybrid work productivity and safety while fixing one of the key issues. for businesses associated with Windows 10.
Microsoft’s partners say they see a range of customer service opportunities and benefits around Windows 11, which Microsoft plans to make generally available during the 2021 holiday season.
Windows 11 will bring a new “focus, energy and conversation” around the Windows operating system, said Zach Saltzman, senior manager of the Microsoft platform at FMT Consultants, based in Carlsbad, Calif., A Microsoft Gold partner. “Customers will need help planning and executing the upgrade itself, and with all the cloud integration built in, this should drive both migration conversations as well as improvement conversations. security and productivity services. “
[Related: Microsoft Sets End Date For Windows 10 Support]
Overall, Windows 11 is “more than an incremental update to Windows 10 features and I’m already seeing a lot of valuable productivity boosters,” Saltzman said.
The successor to Windows 10, launched in 2015, Windows 11 is “the first release in a new era of Windows,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at a virtual announcement event Thursday. “We are building for the next decade and beyond. “
Windows 11 will only see one major feature update per year, unlike biannual feature updates for Windows 10, the company revealed.
Microsoft will also be offering Windows 11 for free as an update to Windows 10 through the existing Windows Update process, “which is great,” Saltzman said.
“This, combined with less frequent feature updates, will help reduce the churn rate for IT departments,” he said. “Frankly, Microsoft hasn’t done a great job on QA and user acceptance testing of recent feature updates, so slowing down to once a year is probably a good thing.
Reducing major updates to once a year with Windows 11 is an “important” decision by Microsoft, as it will give customers more time to “settle into all of these new features,” said Michael Montagliano, chief executive officer. innovation at ProArch, an Atlanta-based Microsoft Gold partner.
Semi-annual updates “can become a real burden in a business organization, [which must decide] ‘What new features am I integrating, what am I ignoring?’ Said Montagliano. “I think it’s a good thing to slow down a bit.”
With much of the workforce split between home and office, Microsoft showcased Windows 11 as a hybrid work solution during briefings and blog posts on Thursday. A number of new operating system features and updates focus on improving productivity, such as the direct integration of the Teams collaboration app into Windows 11.
The widely used Teams app, which had 145 million daily active users at the end of April, will be easier to connect in Windows 11, Microsoft product manager Panos Panay said Thursday. Launching Teams communications, including chat, calling and video calling, will now be a “one-touch” experience and will not require users to first open the Teams app, Microsoft said.
This capability will be available directly from the taskbar, where teams will be brought “front and center” in Windows 11, Panay said. Teams users will also be able to turn their mic on / off and share their desktop or an app right from the taskbar, Microsoft said.
The upcoming Teams integration into Windows 11 is “incredibly critical,” said Reed Wiedower, leader of global alliances and CTO for Cognizant Microsoft Business Group, a Microsoft Gold partner.
“This decision to essentially end Skype and move people to Teams will make it a much more compelling value proposition for businesses to adopt Teams,” said Wiedower.
While Teams is extremely popular with business users, many still don’t use it for their personal communications. But integrating Teams directly into Windows 11 “will likely inspire most of these people to just live every day in Teams, whether it’s on their phone or desktop, for work or family,” Wiedower said.
“This in turn will help partners who create solutions on the Teams platform, as they will be able to solve business scenarios and personal scenarios, which will expand the types of solutions and benefit all partners. edges, ”he said. .
Other Windows 11 features that Microsoft touted as improvements for hybrid work included snap layouts for easier organization of windows and snap groups for faster return to previous tasks, including on several monitors.
With Windows 11, Microsoft has clearly recognized that “the way we work, when we work and where we work has changed,” said Ric Opal, principal and national head of go-to-market and strategic partnerships at BDO Digital, a Microsoft Gold partner.
“They’ve been thinking a lot over the last 15 months about what to really prioritize,” Opal said. “I hope Windows 11 will really illuminate a ton of features and capabilities for customers and the partner ecosystem. “
In terms of security, the partners said they welcome the updates Microsoft has unveiled for Windows 11. The updates will include the requirement that PCs have a security chip, such as the TPM2 chip. 0, to run the operating system.
The TPM chip requirement gives a boost to a zero-trust security approach, Montagliano said.
“It’s really essential to help us make sure that this device and that identity is verified,” he said. “It’s really important for this zero trust initiative. If organizations start to adopt this kind of mindset and take advantage of this kind of mindset, we will have much more secure environments.
Meanwhile, security capabilities such as hardware isolation, secure boot, and hypervisor code integrity will be enabled in Windows 11 by default, as protection against malware and “sophisticated” attacks. , said Nicole Dezen, vice president of global device partner sales. Organization Partner Solutions at Microsoft, in a blog post.
With Windows 11, “I like that they put security first,” said Ryan Loughran, head of reactive services at Valiant Technology, a New York-based MSP. “Requiring TPM2.0 is a great decision and enabling the other security features by default is fantastic. “
During the pandemic, “customers have gone from one office and one network to hundreds of unsecured offices and networks,” Loughran said. “Security is so much more important now because you no longer have the one-stop office control we once had. Hardening endpoints is probably the most important thing IT vendors should focus on.
Miguel Zamarripa, CIO of Simpleworks IT, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., Also praised the emphasis on security in Windows 11, as security is currently the “number one concern” for customers.
“It’s great to see Microsoft take more serious steps to make sure their operating system is as secure as possible,” Zamarripa said. “Anything you can do to improve your security is positive, including making TPM2.0 a requirement. “
Windows 11 will also offer an array of user interface updates, including a centering of the Start button and taskbar icons (similar to macOS), a redesigned Start menu (replacing live tiles with pinned apps, and recent files) and the use of coins across the operating system.
“I think macOS customers who don’t necessarily need a Mac but like the looks will appreciate Windows 11,” Loughran said. “The user interface is minimalist, at least from the previews, and easy to navigate, just like macOS. “
In terms of channel selling opportunities, Dezen said in the blog Thursday that “showcasing the benefits of modern hardware on Windows 11 can speed device refreshes.”
In addition, “By leveraging Windows and Microsoft 365 technologies and tools such as Azure Active Directory, Intune, Endpoint Analytics, Autopilot, and Cloud Configuration, partners are well positioned to provide deployment, management, custom deployment of ‘highly scalable devices and applications. solutions and support services, ”Dezen wrote.
In the end, Windows 11 “will definitely be a boost for business customers,” Saltzman said.
“I see them starting to treat updates and feature versions of Windows a lot more like they treat Microsoft Office when it comes to integration and synergy with Microsoft 365,” he said. “If you are a business customer using Microsoft 365, you will benefit from modern lifecycle management of Office and now Windows 11 to benefit from the latest and greatest integration, security and productivity. from all sides. “
Opal also said he was also optimistic about what Windows 11 could do for business customers, with the operating system’s potential to enable “faster business results.”
“I hope that in the end the customer experience is greatly improved, security and compliance are greatly improved, the integration of applications and experiences is even more seamless,” Opal said. “If they get that, they’ll have been very successful.”