For decades, the promise of “virtual desktops” for employees have been the dream of every business IT department. The idea behind a virtual desktop is delivering an employee’s work PC’s operating system and enterprise apps on-demand. A company could allocate as many virtual desktop PCs employees need to anywhere in the world and on any device because the employee’s “work PC” is accessible from a standard web browser. Only in the past few years has the power of the cloud and the faster broadband internet enabled IT managers to actually deliver the virtual work PC to users.
While there are many enterprises using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to deliver virtual work PCs to employees, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) rarely see the value in the costly and complex technology. But in the aftermath of the 2020 pandemic, Microsoft sought to address the need of SMBs to empower their employees to work securely from anywhere. Amaxra consultants recommend Microsoft Windows 365 for Business as the solution to deliver on the promise of the full-featured and on-demand virtual desktop PC for SMBs.
What is Windows 365 for Business?
Microsoft Windows 365 for Business is a basically a “cloud PC” solution that lets users securely stream your personalized Windows work PC experience to all your internet-connected devices. Windows 365 users open a web browser, sign into the windows365.microsoft.com webpage, and get access to all of the apps, data, and content available on their cloud PC. Because the Windows 365 cloud PC runs authentic Microsoft Windows and is delivered using Microsoft’s own “Azure” global secure cloud infrastructure, the experience of using the cloud PC is just like using a real Windows desktop PC. So, even if you sign into your Windows 365 cloud PC from an Apple iPad tablet or Google Chromebook laptop, you’ll still get the full Windows OS experience from those competing hardware devices.
Amaxra consultants who have tested Windows 365 for Business prior to the official product launch in early August 2021 noted that the experience is much better than accessing Windows from virtual machines or VDI—and that’s great news for SMBs and the IT departments servicing them. Key issues that both SMB and even enterprise IT departments run into with VDI is its inherent complexity to set up and maintain, along with often poor VDI user experience for both on-site and remote employees. When virtual desktops are powered by virtual machines, users are often frustrated by how slow the virtual desktops are to start and how they don’t always keep any personalization or user settings between logons. But with Windows 365 for Business, the cloud PC experience feels significantly faster all around and when everything—desktop background, icon layouts, apps, and more—looks exactly the same as you left it when you log off then log back in.
How your internet speeds will affect your Windows 365 experience
One lesson about secure remote work learned from the 2020 pandemic is that a user’s home internet speeds do affect their experiences with cloud-based software. Notoriously expensive real estate in coast cities of the United States often pushed many office workers to live in suburbs or even rural areas, then commute to the city for their jobs. But for the vast majority of people living in the United States, the average wireless internet connection speed is around 27 megabits per second (Mbps). Amaxra consultants found that speeds half of that average were more than adequate for a full-fidelity experience in Windows 365 cloud PC.
Also note that once you’re fully signed into your cloud PC, the experience is just like using a “real” desktop or laptop PC with local resources. Generally speaking, if your connected device—laptop, tablet, or even smartphone—can stream a movie over Netflix or Amazon Prime, then you have enough bandwidth for a great experience in Windows 365 for Business.
Windows 365: Remote access security without VPNs
Another crucial component to the Windows 365 for Business experience is security. For SMBs wanting to empower employees with a hybrid work experience that could include personal devices used at home, IT departments often address these concerns by mandating employees use virtual private networks (VPNs). With a VPN, the employee connects their home network to the office network using an encrypted IPsec tunnel over the public internet. The downside of a VPN is that software as a service tools are often so easily accessible that remote employees don’t always remember to use their VPN—and that introduces risk to the whole corporate network. But when employees use their Windows 365 cloud PC, they are always securely connected to the corporate network and don’t need to worry about local or VPN access from a personally owned device. By leveraging Microsoft’s investments of over $1 billion a year on cybersecurity, Windows 365 for Business a consistently secure and premium experience no matter where you’re located or on what device you are using.
Amaxra can help SMBs with real-world knowledge on how to plan and deploy Windows 365 for Business. We are a Gold-level Microsoft Partner with over a decade in business and have helped SMBs successfully move to the cloud using the entire Microsoft stack of software and services.
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Limited time offer: Let Amaxra manage your Office 365 licensing and we will configure security such as multi-factor authentication at no additional cost. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us on this website to find out more.