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Windows gets a refresh for hybrid work

By Ken Wong - on 7 Apr 2022, 11:29am

Windows gets a refresh for hybrid work

Windows 365 delivers a personal Windows experience on any device. Image source: Microsoft.

While businesses and workers try to decide on what the next office and workforce will look like, companies like Microsoft are working to ensure that their products are relevant no matter where we choose to work.

Panos Panay, EVP, Chief Product Officer at Microsoft said:

With the move to hybrid work, IT managers are challenged to empower their workforces with new tech experiences. Windows 11 is the operating system for hybrid work. It’s built on a compatible and familiar foundation that’s easy for IT to manage. It’s designed to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving cyber landscape and equipped with experiences that help employees do their best work.

Enhanced security

Enhanced security against phishing is coming. Image source: Microsoft.

With security top of mind, one of the key changes has been the introduction of two new features to stop phishing and targeted malware which have become the most common cyberattack techniques.

New in Windows 11 is enhanced phishing detection and protection built into Windows with Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. This new feature will help protect users from phishing attacks by identifying and alerting users when they are entering their Microsoft credentials into a malicious application or hacked website.

Smart App Control will help ease the burden on IT admins. Image source: Microsoft.

Smart App Control uses code signing alongside Microsoft’s powerful artificial intelligence models to ensure that only trusted applications are run. This blocks one of the largest attack vectors on Windows by default.

Microsoft is also looking ahead to bring the power of the cloud to hardware with the flexible, updatable Microsoft Pluton security processor.


Better Windows management using the Cloud

Moving between the Cloud and your local PC will be seamless. Image source: Microsoft.

We first spoke of Windows 365 last year. This is where a Windows experience is delivered to a device via a browser with all apps, data, and settings stored in Microsoft Cloud. So, a user’s unique Windows experience can be reached from anywhere and anytime, even offline.

For those wanting to move between Windows 11 and Windows 365, Microsoft is introducing Windows 365 Switch for seamless movement between a Cloud-based PC and a local PC with a single click.

Windows 365 Boot will let them boot straight to Windows 365 Cloud PC in just one step, and the ability to work offline and then automatically resync without losing any data with Windows 365 Offline.

Windows 365 Enterprise edition gives organisations the flexibility to manage a corporate device or personal device, all managed in Microsoft Endpoint Manager with a new feature called Edge for Windows. Here, staff can use their personal Windows devices but not have IT admins worry about security and data loss as they can determine the levels of access to data and the corporate network.

Trust will be a key part of Remote Help as you will know who is helping you. Image source: Microsoft.

As an add-on to Endpoint Manager Remote, Remote Help allows a user to get help over the Internet. The difference is that the user profile, photos, and domain verification for both parties are shown to each other upfront so there is trust that one is seeking help and the other is from the organisation or someone who can offer genuine help.

Microsoft also added that they will be adding more capabilities to Microsoft Endpoint manager to help to better protect endpoints in the cloud, on-premises and across device platforms.

To ease the burden on IT managers, updates to Windows can now be handled by the OS itself. Windows Autopatch is a managed service that can help reduce the load on IT by automating updates for Windows, Microsoft Edge, and Office. It will be available to customers at no additional cost, as part of the Windows Enterprise E3 subscription.


Improvements under the hood


Finally, there are improvements to what is already inside Windows.

It's easier to locate files in File Explorer by allowing users to see all files in one centralised place. Users can also pin files and create tabs in File Explorer, reducing what used to take six clicks to get to an important file to one.

To further improve the meeting and collaboration experience, Microsoft is also introducing new intelligent meeting features for Windows 11 powered by AI. New features like Voice clarity, Automatic framing, Portrait background blur, and Eye contact make the video experience clearer and more personal.

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