Last year, Microsoft announced their new product, Windows 365. Windows 365 was created with the intent to move the operating system into the Microsoft Cloud and bring a user’s complete Windows experience to their personal or corporate devices. This innovative product is known as the Cloud PC. Since it was announced, Nerdio has worked to incorporate Windows 365 into our offerings.
Windows 365 is offered in two forms: Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Business. In typical Nerdio fashion, we have been able to support all of the new Windows 365 functionality released by Microsoft when they release it, if not prior. We integrated Windows 365 Enterprise upon rollout, and in February 2022, began offering deep integration with Windows 365 Business when the ability became available. You can read more about Windows 365 via our dedicated page.
Why Windows 365 Business Is Suited to MSPs
For managed service providers (MSPs) working with smaller companies, Windows 365 Business may be a great fit to supply IT services while reducing the management load on your team. Windows 365 Business allows MSPs to provision Cloud PCs as standalone PCs in the Azure cloud without having to worry about networking or security groups, or provisioning policies.
In addition, there is not a desktop image to manage in Windows 365 Business (unlike in Windows 365 Enterprise, in which you can have the Cloud PC provisioned from an image you have set up a certain way). Instead, Microsoft will provision a clean Windows 10 or Windows 11 install with the following apps already installed: Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise (the new name of the very familiar Office 365 Pro Plus), Microsoft Teams, OneDrive and Edge, and Microsoft Defender Antivirus.
As an MSP, you can control if the user has the permissions to install additional apps by setting up their account on their Cloud PC as a standard user or local administrator (standard users can only install apps from the Microsoft store, whereas local administrators can install any software). However, this does allow the risk of a local administrator corrupting their Cloud PC with malware. As an MSP, you also have some options to administer users’ Cloud PCs. With Nerdio Manager, you can: remotely restart Cloud PCs or re-provision them to a clean slate, run a troubleshooting wizard that looks for connectivity issues, rename or view system specifications for Cloud PCs, view logs maintained by Nerdio Manager for any of the previous activity, and manage any combination of Windows 365 Business, Windows 365 Enterprise and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) for the same customer.
How to Identify the Right Clients for Windows 365 Business
Windows 365 Business is typically used for small businesses. Usually, in these companies, the business owner doubles as the IT administrator of the company. Upon starting the company, it’s up to the business owner to figure out aspects of the business’ operations, and this includes IT responsibilities (setting up a domain, email, purchasing Office licenses, and a PC). As the company grows, these IT tasks remain the responsibility of the business owner, and those tasks can grow with the company as well, as smaller companies do not usually have an IT network or a domain controller.
Windows 365 Business makes it easier for businesses of all sizes, particularly micro or very small businesses, to be a cloud-only company. If your client is currently considering moving to the cloud or has expressed a need for secure desktops that can be accessed from anywhere anytime, it would be worth educating them on how they could benefit from Windows 365 Business in your next QBR. However, Windows 365 is not always the solution. If your client has an elastic workforce or doesn’t need to have desktops ON and available all the time, you would likely serve their needs better with other virtual desktop services in Azure, such as AVD.
Why Now Is The Time for Windows 365 Business Exploration and Investment
With remote work and a distributed workforce, office networks seem like archaic IT infrastructure. We are moving from an office-centric IT to a cloud-first IT world. Technology, including Azure, are a rapidly changing territory. New features are being built into familiar technology almost every day, including Windows 365, which Microsoft is investing in and updating constantly. It remains to be seen how Windows 365 Business will be adopted, but yours truly won’t be surprised if it’s something that is seen in organizations with even a 100 employees & more. With upwards potential for adoption, your MSP can benefit from investing in Windows 365 Business now and creating a scalable model to take across clients as cloud interest and migration continue.