The free upgrade sees a raft of enhancements, but will they all benefit you?
Microsoft’s Windows 10 is finally here, the first ever free release of a Windows upgrade that the company hopes to be widely adopted.
The release has brought a number of security upgrades with enhancements that will enable companies to begin to replace passwords with more secure options, such as biometrics and hardware-based multi-factor credentials.
Using Microsoft Passport and Windows Hello, users will be able to long into their Windows 10 device or line of business app without a password. Additional security features include Credential Guard, which protects identities by placing them in a hardware-based secure execution environment.
While the new features look good on paper, Matthew Aldridge, Solutions Architect at Webroot, advises careful planning: "It is advisable that organisations carefully plan any upgrades. Thorough testing of all applications and use cases will help mitigate compatibility issues and allow time for the inevitable bugs to be fixed, therefore reducing the risk to the organisation.
"The Identity Protection and Access Control feature is likely to make a big difference to all users as it brings two-factor authentication to the masses. This update means that attackers would need access to a user’s device as well as the user’s password or even fingerprint to achieve successful authentication."
The company’s inclusion of a Data Loss Prevention feature highlights that the company has considered the rise in BYOD. By enabling the containerisation of applications and encrypting data as it arrives on a device, it is less likely that sensitive data could fall into the wrong hands.
Security is a big focus in a release that Paul Veitch, Head of Application Development and Cloud, Avanade UK, say’s is: "a leap forward towards the era of personalised computing and in helping businesses in their journey toward a high-performance digital workplace."
The release will aim to deliver deeper integration along with a more seamless experience across devices. A move to enable digitalisation in the workplace is key to Windows 10, as it integrates social, mobile, analytics and cloud computing.
Veitch, said: "Windows 10 acts as building blocks towards a smarter way of working that allows users to focus on their tasks instead of working to get information and their applications onto a plethora of devices, this ultimately allows them to be more productive."
The more integrated and connected approach can be seen with its unified Mobile Device Management platform. The company also hopes to boost adoption of its Azure Cloud by making it easier to join devices to its Azure Active Directory, via Azure AD Join.
The Cloud integration represents a significant element of the Windows 10 release, which will be the final numbered version. This will lead the way for more a more fluid process of updating, companies may be able to look forward to an end to traumatic OS migration.
Jes Breslaw, director of marketing and strategy, Delphix, said: "Microsoft’s move to continuous updates is a fundamental change. Most significantly, those components traditionally shipped as part of a major release will now be available as independent apps.
"This means innovations within these apps can be made available when they are ready, not held up for the next big operating systems (OS) update."
Although the continuous updates may be welcomed by many, they also present a potential risk for companies that are not ready to transition due to some perceived risks. The risks include potentially destabilising platforms with endless updates. Breslaw expects there to be a branched version which only updates every five years.
Breslaw, said: "However, by taking the branch option these cautious organisations will largely fail to benefit from the huge investment Microsoft is making in innovation.
"Enterprises should be moving their own Windows applications to continuous delivery, and through their own continuous integration and testing, ensure updates are successful.