Microsoft Announces Windows 365, a Secure, Versatile Cloud-Based Operating System

To accommodate the changing way we work today

Yesterday Microsoft announced the development of Windows 365, a secure, versatile cloud-based operating system that allows businesses of all sizes to use Windows 10 – or Windows 11 when released later this year. Whether they are working in the office or offsite, users will be able to sync their apps, data, content and settings on personal and corporate devices. Windows 365 saves information in the cloud, not on the device, so it is more secure, making remote work or hybrid work safer and more convenient. The new operating system also helps to facilitate collaboration, whether it is onsite or off.

“With Windows 365, we’re creating a new category: the Cloud PC,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft, in the company’s announcement. “Just like applications were brought to the cloud with SaaS, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud, providing organizations with greater flexibility and a secure way to empower their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location.”

Windows 365 will be “generally available” to businesses on August 2, 2021. Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Microsoft created the cloud-based service to accommodate the new ways that companies work today with workers collaborating in a virtual environment from different locations. Windows 365 facilitates the sharing of resources by connecting workers in a safe, secure way.

“Hybrid work has fundamentally changed the role of technology in organizations today,” said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president, Microsoft 365. “With workforces more disparate than ever before, organizations need a new way to deliver a great productivity experience with increased versatility, simplicity and security. Cloud PC is an exciting new category of hybrid personal computing that turns any device into a personalized, productive and secure digital workspace. Today’s announcement of Windows 365 is just the beginning of what will be possible as we blur the lines between the device and the cloud.”

Microsoft cites three key advantages to using Windows 365:

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  • Power: With “instant-on” access to their personal Cloud PCs, workers can access all of their apps, tools, data and personalized settings from the cloud, regardless of what device they’re using. With two versions, Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise, businesses have the flexibility and versatility to choose the processing power and storage they need with pricing-per-seat.
  • Simplicity: Regardless of the device they’re using, users can log into their Cloud PC and resume their work where they left off. Also, deployment, updates and system management are simpler for IT departments, and small and medium-sized customers can buy Windows 365 directly through their cloud service provider for easy setup.
  • Security: Cybersecurity is of the utmost importance for businesses of all sizes. Microsoft says that Windows 365 is secure by design, utilizing Zero Trust architecture. The operating system is always up to date, and information is secured and stored in the cloud.
Windows 365 will use its cloud-based structure to support workers safely and securely, regardless of their location. Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Hybrid Windows

“We are so excited to share this new way to experience Windows 10 or Windows 11 (when available) through the power of the cloud across all your devices. We believe this will give organizations of all sizes the power, simplicity, and security you need to address the changing needs of your workforce as you embrace hybrid work,” said Wangui McKelvey, general manager, Microsoft 365.

“Windows 365 will be available on August 2, 2021, to organizations of all sizes. In the meantime, you can learn more about Windows 365 now. We are excited to be on this journey together, and we can’t wait to learn about all the new ways you will get work done using Windows 365,” McKelvey added.

Microsoft did not reveal pricing for Windows 365 Business or Enterprise, but companies who want to learn more can sign up to receive updates.

Insider Take

The last 16 months have changed how we do everything, including the way we work. As employees return to work, remain offsite or take a hybrid approach, Windows 365 provides new opportunities for them to access corporate-supported resources and to collaborate with colleagues, regardless of their location or device. This is an exciting operating system that has been designed to be adaptable, no matter what the world throws at us next. Microsoft would likely have developed Windows 365 without the pandemic, but the pandemic highlighted the need for more versatile operating systems, applications, and resources.