On August 2nd, Microsoft will formally roll out the Anniversary Update to the Windows 10 software. The upgrade comes with a number of new or improved features that many IT specialists will take notice of.
Security, Security, Security
The most common reason for companies to skip upgrades is concerns over vulnerabilities. Microsoft is looking to change that thinking by moving to the annual update. The change replaces the more traditional complete OS overhaul every 3-5 years.
Enterprise subscribers to Windows 10 will get access to the new Windows 10 Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP).
In a release earlier this year, Microsoft claims testers have helped them improve this specialized service. The more advanced version of consumer-oriented Windows Defender, Microsoft says WDATP is the most advanced, real-time security system in the cyber world available to the general public.
It is not only designed to protect against cyber theft, but also hunt down the source. The company boasts the U.S. Department of Defense, NASCAR and Virgin Atlantic as some of the early adopters of Windows 10 and, in turn, WDATP.
The Anniversary Update also comes with improved identity protection and access control. Windows Information Protection helps control who can access what, in hopes of preventing an accidental leak of any information.
Next-Level Hello Integration
For users of Windows 10 with a compatible camera, Windows Hello has proved to be a fast and reliable way of unlocking your computer and signing in. With the Anniversary Update, Microsoft is expanding the usefulness of Windows Hello.
Users will now be able to sign in to participating apps as well as access to passwords saved by Microsoft Edge. I have had jobs where one day’s work might include 4-6 different passwords across different websites and software platforms. A biometric scan that could store all those passwords could become an invaluable time saver in the business world.
Doubling Down on Ink
For consumer and professional alike, there still does not seem to be an end to the need of a pen and paper. But Microsoft is still working to combat that. Upgrades to the ink system in Windows 10 will interest many business users on the go.
Microsoft is expanding developer’s ability to utilize ink inside their apps. They are also making it easier for users to access sticky notes, note pads and simply just writing on their screen or browser. There are a number ways this could be of use in the business world, particularly for traveling professionals who need to limit their baggage.
Managing the Edge
There are some modest changes to the Edge browser for the enterprise customer. They include:
- Access to the about:flags page
- Usage of extensions
- Transitional message when opening IE sites.
There are also updates to existing policies, such as Microsoft Edge Group Policy settings on Desktop. And the home page policy configured on a domain-joined device will not longer allow a user to override the setting.
Developer Treats Too!
There are two main bonuses for developers as part of the Anniversary Update. First, to much fanfare, Microsoft has added native support for Linux Bash Shell. For anyone who develops for PC, this is a game changer and one long begged for.
Also, Anniversary Update is bringing Windows 10 up to speed with Windows Server 2016. The OS now supports native Hyper-V containers. They will support Nano Server, a smaller incarnation of Windows Server.
This is a consumer driven update and that is where most of the upgrades and added features lie. But, as you can see, Microsoft did not leave out its bread and butter business, the enterprise. Security is the #1 concern for any company, and every computer is a potential hole, leaking sensitive information to the outside world.
So, for the enterprise, much of the focus is on security. Biometric scanners, added Cortana features, and other new features have a place in the office. But it is the encryption and the ability to track down those looking to harm your workplace that is of most importance.
Microsoft has made some good upgrades for their professional customers in this Anniversary Update. But it remains to be seen whether that will be enough for more IT professionals to “pull the trigger.” Windows 7 remains the flagship for the corporate world. And it is unclear how much longer it will take for Windows 10 to take its rightful place at the top of the PC heap.