As many are aware, Microsoft recently released its new iteration of its ever popular Windows operating system on July 29, 2015. Microsoft has offered a vast array of improvements to its Windows 10 operating system, not the least of which is notable improvements in how Windows deals with security from the ground up. One of the most prominent points of confusion for most businesses, whether they be small offices with twenty employees or large enterprises with thousands of users, is the misconception of the “free upgrade”.

When Windows 10 was first released, it touted that all users upgrading from Windows 7, or Windows 8/8.1 (8/8.1 includes Windows phones), would receive a free upgrade; so long as you upgraded your operating system by July 29th 2016. This point has since been addressed by Microsoft. Microsoft has stated that anyone upgrading from a “Pro” (or lesser) version of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 is eligible for a free upgrade (including businesses). However, Microsoft has amended this in saying that any computer (PC, laptop, tablet) running the Enterprise edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 will not be eligible for a free upgrade.

So Windows 10 isn’t completely free to everyone, but this doesn’t block the free upgrade route for everyone. Smaller businesses running the Professional (or lesser) editions of Windows 7 & 8/8.1 are still entirely eligible for the upgrade. Having said that, let’s dive into a few of the prominent new features that businesses might be interested in with Windows 10.

  • Device Guard

Device Guard is a potent combination of hardware and software restrictions that, once configured, allow you to completely lock a Windows device down; allowing it to only install and run trusted applications.

  • Microsoft Passport

Microsoft Passport is another business centered feature of Windows 10. Microsoft Passport integrates biometric security features into the new OS: including fingerprint and facial recognition. To make this even more enticing it’s immediately ready to integrate with Windows Server Active Directory.

  • Enterprise Data Protection (EDP)

EDP is a new feature of Windows 10 that is squarely aimed at being an enterprise class solution. EDP can be administered from a company EMM console, and allows IT professionals to define what constitutes enterprise data; which apps are for business, and how data may be shared. EDP prevents data loss from Windows devices by leveraging advanced security controls for both resources, and pre-authorized applications. Once configured, EDP will control which applications are allowed to interact with sensitive or confidential data.

  • Windows Store for Business

Windows 10 introduced a new store model for businesses looking to upgrade to Windows 10. Dubbed “Windows Store for Business”, this section of the application will allow smaller organizations to leverage the Windows Store to selectively offer software packages to their users (including volume licensed products), while blocking out the fodder. Meanwhile – larger companies with a software deployment solution already in place can leverage API-level integration between the Windows Store and pre-existing in-place management tools.

  • Windows Update for Business

There have been notable groans from the consumer end of the Windows 10 market in regard to the updating process, and understandably, but we’ll get into the why of that in my next blog (Windows 10 – Should you upgrade?). Windows Update for Business allows IT departments to control which updates their systems, and users, receive. This is the norm for anyone accustomed to previous versions of Windows operating systems, but you’ll see in my next blog why this is a welcome addition for businesses.

To wrap this up I’d like to leave you with a few key notes from this blog to take into consideration:

  • The “free upgrade” offer does not apply to Enterprise versions of Windows 7 and 8/8.1.
  • All data should be backed up to an external storage device before attempting to upgrade to Windows 10.

To find out more about this or other ways we can assist you with your business needs, contact us at 800.274.3978 or email us.