But now the world has changed and the in, out, in, out is here to stay with hybrid working. Many companies and organisations are permanently adapting to having a workforce made up of remote workers, office workers and, more commonly, workers who choose to do a bit of both.
Microsoft has quickly risen to the challenge of providing the tools that workers, and companies, will need to enable productivity and cyber-safe working moving forward. Windows 365 has already been released and Windows 11 is right on its heel, due to be released in just a few weeks’ time.
So let’s have a look at what they are and how they can make hybrid working a breeze…
Just as Windows 7 was replaced by Windows 10, Microsoft is soon to launch a new release. Windows 11 is the new Microsoft operating system that will be replacing Windows 10. Due to be released in this autumn, new computers will come equipped with this new version, and the free update will likely be made available to existing Microsoft customers in 2022.
What difference will it make? Described by Microsoft as “the place to think, express, and create in a natural way”, the redesigned Mac-esque interface leads you to new tools, including:
- The Dock – the new and easy-to-use taskbar
- Personalisable widgets, which can be accessed directly from the Dock
- Snap Groups and Snap Layouts, which allow you to arrange collections of the apps or windows into layouts that work for you
- Vertical tabs that provide a more ergonomically friendly user-experience
Another big plus is that updates are 40% smaller and can take place without you being interrupted by notifications. But what we find especially exciting is that Windows 11 is designed to integrate more with Windows 365, which really takes hybrid working to the next level.
Microsoft has pulled it out of the bag in response to the new need for hybrid working solutions. Windows 365 is a cloud-based operating system that was released on 2nd August. It turns a single computer into a ‘Cloud PC’, meaning it can be accessed from any device, anywhere.
As Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, explains: “Just like applications were brought to the cloud with Software-as-a-Service, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud, providing organisations with greater flexibility and a secure way to empower their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location.”
For companies that are turning to hybrid working, this means:
- First and foremost, a significantly heightened level of cyber security, given that everything is happening in the cloud rather than on the devices themselves. The overnight need to start working from home that was thrust upon us when Covid struck was fraught with security issues, which we addressed in our blog: Protect Your Company Against Soaring Cyber Crime During Covid-19. Windows 365 allows you to provide a controlled environment for your employees, wherever they are.
- Windows 365 can be accessed from any device – laptops, home desktops, tablets and smartphones. It can even enable Mac users to access Windows apps, which takes away another stumbling block.
- Higher productivity due to being able to access work from anywhere, and also fewer interruptions due to tech issues.
- For the remote worker, it means:
- No more karting a laptop to and from the office. They can sign off their desktop at the office on Friday, and then sign in to the same PC in the cloud from a laptop at home on Monday morning.
- Less risk of forgetting something vital at work.
- Last-minute changes in plans, such as having sick children at home, can be accommodated without experiencing issues with accessing office-based applications, software and servers.
- Work can be accessed from literally anywhere. Working holiday? Why not!
There are even more advantages for specific industries. With Windows 365, you can build mock machines to test new developments – use them, break them and set them back to default. Graphic designers can carry out 3D work without having to leave the machine on all night – they simply fire it up in the cloud, turn the machine off and log back in the next day.
Your Windows 11 and Windows 365 questions answered
Will I need new computers?
When we hear of updates and new developments, a natural question to ask is whether you’ll need new computers.
Windows 11 – Maybe, maybe not. There are minimum system requirements, including RAM and storage space, but Microsoft won’t be retiring Windows 10 until 2025, so if you do need to replace your office computers, you have plenty of time.
Windows 365 – Highly unlikely. The beauty of Windows 365 is that it stores everything in the cloud, so it doesn’t take up any room on your computers. You just need an internet connection – and not a super-fast one. As long as you have enough bandwidth to stream Netflix, you’ll be absolutely fine. And connection even speeds up once you’re in ‘Cloud PC’ mode. A win-win.
Does all this improve our cyber security?
Absolutely. Although the convenience and productivity aspects of these Microsoft tools are great, what’s really key is the added level of protection they provide, especially with Windows 365. Instead of having employees working on home computers that may not have the correct level of security, you have the protection that your business is being operated from the cloud. As long as you have the correct cyber protection in place, this will follow your employees wherever they go.
Of course, you may need other security solutions as part of a comprehensive cyber security strategy, but Windows 11 and Windows 365 offer significant overall security enhancements.
Will we need help getting set up?
Possibly. It depends where your skills lie and whether you have in-house IT support. And also whether you have time. If you’re a big company with lots of machines, it will take a fair chunk of time to install Windows 11 correctly on each machine. And along with Windows 365, you’ll want to make sure everything is set up exactly how it should be, so you can take advantage of all the benefits while remaining as cyber-safe as possible.
At Somerbys IT, we are on hand to manage these types of installations quickly and efficiently to minimise any computer downtime, while upping your level of security and productivity.
So, are you ready to lead your company into hybrid working in Microsoft style and make it as safe, easy and productive as possible? Microsoft is currently offering a 60-day free trial of Windows 365… feel free to get in touch if we can help you give it a whirl!