Windows 10 – Do You Know What You Need To Know?
Here’s what we’ve learned since last year when Microsoft launched Windows 10: Don’t. Stall. Just don’t do it, okay? With Microsoft’s push to more fully integrate the new OS with the MS Azure-powered cloud, there are migration considerations that require your attention and planning. We absolutely understand that with this shift to the cloud comes privacy and security concerns that are present on an even more meaningful level than in years past. The thing is though – Windows 10 will soon become a necessity to maintain security and support. Windows 7 is already falling behind on those fronts, and Microsoft announced this week that as of January 14th, 2020, all support for Windows 7 will end. Currently the old OS is on extended support, which is pretty bare bones. All support being pulled will mean that still running Windows 7, or being caught mid-migration when it ends, will leave your enterprise very vulnerable. The thought of the migration to Windows 10 comes with considerations that, reasonably, could make it seem like a good thing to put off. We get that. So, we’re here to provide some clarity for you about the significant changes. Once the mystery is gone you’ll see that with the proper planning and implementation this is a positive move.
Let’s run through some key parts that aren’t changing. Familiar territory is a great place to start, right? An important consideration is that there are no major hardware changes required between Windows 8 to Windows 10. This is a big money saver. Next, the security requirements for device integrity aren’t changing as it relates to Secure Boost. You’ll still need UEFI Version2.3.1 Annex B, and TPM Version 1.2. The goal of Microsoft with Windows 10 was to add new features to Windows 8, and improve significantly on the features that were already popular and working well.
Of the thousands of modifications MS made to Windows 10, there are some standouts as far as enterprises are concerned. Those include (but are definitely not limited to): Windows Update for Business, Windows Defender, and BitLocker. These are the ones we’ll be briefly going over in this article, following articles will go more in depth on other features as well.
Windows Update for Business (WUfB): updates will automatically install weekly, and are only OS patches, so there won’t be any feature changes. Upgrades will happen 2-3 times per year, and will likely include new functions and visible changes. MS Update for Business also functions as a catalogue and back end repository for Windows Server Update – allowing central management of MS patches to devices on your domain. System administrators can control how and when the updates are applied throughout the enterprise, and depending on the type of update, defer and stagger deployment for certain amounts of time.
BitLocker: Mainly, full disk encryption remains as an enterprise feature, and several of the changes made to BitLocker in Windows 10 support that functionality for enterprises: MS has now made management of Device Encrypt simpler by making it available on Azure Active Directory, policies are now in place to block access to computer ports that use Direct Memory access, and one of the newer builds includes an algorithm to boost protection from attacks on plaintext.
Windows Defender: Since Windows Server 2012, MS has bundled Windows Defender in. While this isn’t a brand new change, it’s still worth mentioning as it will be a noticeable difference if you’re migrating from Windows Server 2008 R2. For both Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, Defender can be managed through several interfaces including OMA Device Management, PowerShell, WM/V2, Group Policy, and the command line interface. The big opportunity with this is that it lets enterprises to customize in-house management reporting solutions.
There are a ton of features to be considered in Windows 10, but hopefully the overview information we’ve included here gets you thinking about how best to implement Windows 10 in your organization. Keep an eye out for more articles to come that will go in-depth on your biggest questions!