Windows 11: we haven’t seen anything yet

Windows 11: we haven’t seen anything yet

Disclosure: Microsoft is a client of the author.

Microsoft this week had an analyst event on Windows 11 and a variety of productivity, management, and security features the company has planned. Over the past two years, Microsoft has aggressively improved both Windows and Office 365, but the big change ahead is the potential combination of Windows with Windows 365. We’ll see that start later in the year. The end game should be what appears to be a Windows desktop that integrates so well with the cloud that it can, when needed, seamlessly switch between instances to comply with company policy, ensure security, and provide a backup resource. automatic demand from Azure Cloud.

Falling behind on OS updates is getting more and more risky

One of the big improvements in Windows 10 and 11 has to do with security. Until the early 2000s, Microsoft didn’t take security seriously, leaving the likes of McAfee and Symantec to fill in the gaps. That was the only lesson Microsoft should have learned from IBM in the 1980s, though it did learn the lesson eventually. Now, Microsoft’s focus on security is not only serious, it has advanced impressively year after year.

This also means that the company is moving much faster to address security threats and redesign Windows for those threats. In the past, there was little incentive to do so outside of ease of use and user interface changes (which in Vista and particularly Windows 8 worked against early implementation). Today, the risk of staying on an older version is the increased chance that credentials will be compromised, systems will be penetrated, and systems that have not been updated become a host for malware, and especially ransomware.

I’m a former internal auditor and my team used to penalize people who made dumb decisions, like delaying an OS upgrade when that decision opened the company up for attack. By punishing, I mean that those employees were fired. Today’s risk landscape is so extreme that practices should favor an approach that focuses more on protecting against malware and less concerned with limiting the pain of updates.

Businesses may also want to favor Secure Core PCs in their specs for the same reason: They offer the strongest protections for hardware, software, firmware, access, and credentials without negatively impacting productivity. It has simply become too risky to postpone changes that maximize your security profile. Being up-to-date on the operating system, up-to-date on patches, and having the most secure hardware can go a long way toward ensuring that the next breach happens to another company. Microsoft has even created a unique security processor called Pluton, which should be in your PC specs as a requirement from now on.

Windows 11 + Windows 365 and the future

As soon as Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft, the company began to transition from a desktop software operating system and platform company to a cloud software and platform company. It should come as no surprise that Microsoft is now starting to integrate the two offerings. Initially, this will allow businesses to maintain cloud instances of Windows that are potentially much more secure than desktop computers, and can remain secure, even on consumer-grade hardware. Initially, this will allow for increasingly seamless movement between the two environments, with each environment being totally secure. So if one side is compromised, the other won’t get infected.

Users will be able to move so easily between environments that they will automatically pull from cloud services as needed, whether it’s a hybrid or cloud-only environment, without knowing or caring about the difference.

Microsoft talked about a number of other features to better organize files and folders; provide greater flexibility for hybrid work; and improve remote management and provisioning. But it’s the big improvements in security and cloud integration that will make the difference. The former will drive increasingly aggressive update cycles to deal with growing threats; the second goes down the path of automating all aspects of desktop management, with artificial intelligence (AI) technology that dynamically adapts to the way each user works.

The idea of ​​using AI to uniquely modify the user experience based on how you use the tool is the greatest promise of AI: systems that adapt to you and not the other way around. When that starts rolling out soon, it will change the Windows experience forever and could be a bigger step forward than Windows 95 represented.

Microsoft is stepping up with some exciting trailers later this year. I really want to try them.

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