rsz_keyboard-469548_640With Windows 10 slated to be released in a few short months, many businesses are wondering if they should upgrade to the newest version or stick with their current Windows environment. Many IT departments have already installed and have been using the Tech Preview edition of Windows 10 in order to get a real world feel of how operating system can help their business. Most IT personnel agree that Windows 10 is a smart move for companies wanting to stay ahead of the curve in today’s high tech internet-connected world. Here are some Windows 10 features that any business will find of great value.

Azure Active Directory (AD)

Microsoft has included cloud-oriented Azure Active Directory (AD) support for Windows 10 devices on top of any already used on-premises or local AD setups. Users will be able to log-on to their devices using Azure AD accounts as well as being able to mix local AD and Azure AD.
What this basically means is that Windows 10 users can log into cloud-based services like Office 365 without having to enter his Azure AD credentials, thus doing away with the necessity of remembering multiple user ID’s and passwords, think KeyChain from Apple.
Windows 10 will allow users to chose between Active Directory, Group Policy and System Center Configuration Manager for corporate-owned devices that are frequently connected to the corporate network; as well as Azure Active Directory and MDM for devices that are typically mobile and internet-connected.

Mobile Device Management 

Windows 8.1 introduced Mobile Device Management (MDM) allowing companies to manage devices such as phones and tablets in the corporate environment. Windows 10 has expanded on the MDM features and will include many more options for corporate-owned devices. Some of these options will include support for managing multiple users sharing a single device giving the user full control over what is allowed to be downloaded and installed from the Windows Store, VPN and device-wipe capabilities. This feature also gives greater control over the configuration of Enterprise Data Protection policies.
MDM is absolutely essential in enterprise management as mobile devices become more commonplace in business environments. With the built-in MDM features in Windows 10 users will be better situated for dealing with multiple devices running the same OS allowing users to modify security features to reduce any security risks depending on their needs.

In-Place Upgrades

Windows 10 will also be supporting in-place upgrades. This means users can install the OS without administrators having to wipe the previous OS. Upgrades will be able to preserve apps, data and configurations from the Windows version being replaced. This will save countless hours (and in some cases even days) of end users trying to find or replace important documents or data wiped out by the new system update. By creating an in-place upgrade technology and working on improving the compatibility between windows 7, 8 and 10, Microsoft has ensures a smooth, virtually (almost) error-free upgrade without compromising files or the system itself.

“We understand the challenges that many organizations experienced as part of their Windows XP to Windows 7 migrations and are working hard to ensure that compatibility between Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 is excellent,” the company said in a blog post.

Windows 10 features new tools that allow enterprises to configure devices for business use without the need for re-imaging. Provisioning WiFi, VPN, and e-mail profiles, language packs and security updates is much easier and more flexible with the new tools included. These tools will also allow for an easier enforcement of security policies and app installations. With Windows 10 IT administrations can easily and automatically enroll new devices into an MDM service. Microsoft said that the new configuration flexibility could enable “choose your own device” scenarios for employees.

Windows 10 will support the separation of personal and business data so that enterprises can wipe data remotely without wiping personal data from the user’s computer or device. This will allow a much greater latitude for implementing security in the enterprise without compromising individual private data.
Windows 10 also takes data protection technologies like BitLocker to the next level by providing container-based data file protection even for files that leave the PC or device. What this basically means is that even if someone were to somehow get access to a device or computer running Windows 10 and was able to access the data and download it to a separate off-site device or computer, they will still not be able to read that data. The data is in an encrypted container; This adds a new level of security that makes it exponentially harder for hackers to steal company’s data.

Windows 10 has promised to take the corporate world by storm allowing enterprises greater flexibility and control over their corporate devices. Regardless of whether the device is a personal PC, a tablet device, a laptop or even a windows phone. Microsoft has gone the extra mile in developing this OS to meet the needs of business using it, by asking corporations what they want to see in Windows 10 and then implementing those requests in the operating system. If you are still uncertain whether upgrading to Windows 10 is right for your business consider installing the Windows 10 Tech Review to get a better idea of what it offers. It is recommended to install this in a separate environment for testing and run it for a while to get a feel for it.