During its Inspire conference on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the debut of a “Cloud PC” platform dubbed Windows 365. It is the first subscription-based Windows service to offer a new way to access a full-fledged Windows OS using a laptop, desktop, or even a smartphone from anywhere. The new service from Microsoft turns the concept of a cloud PC into reality and comes at a time when businesses are making a shift towards a mix of office and remote work due to the pandemic. Windows 365 is designed to let users access cloud PCs, streaming a version of Windows 10 or Windows 11 in a native app or web browser on any device, anywhere you have an active internet connection.
Windows 365 Features
Windows 365 aims to provide an “instant-on boot experience” that will enable users to access their personalized apps, data, tools, and settings from the cloud across any device, including a Mac, iPad, Linux, and Android. Due to the cloud integration, users will be able to access the service while switching between multiple devices, and irrespective of the device, the Windows experience will be consistent. The service is built on Azure Virtual Desktop, but it simplifies the virtualization experience and handles all the details for the users.
The Redmond-based software giant mentioned that the cloud PC will support business apps like Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform, and more. For IT teams, Microsoft Endpoint Manager will be able to work with Windows 365, allowing them to manage cloud PCs, and apply security and management policies remotely from their devices.
Microsoft promotes that the cloud PC is designed to address some of today’s critical security challenges by leveraging a Zero Trust architecture. It comes with multi-factor authentication to explicitly verify any login or access attempt to a Cloud PC via integration with Microsoft Azure Active Directory. The cloud PC service also comes with options to delegate specific permissions such as licensing, device management, and cloud PC management using specific roles. Microsoft also boasts enhanced security and claims that all managed disks operating cloud PCs are encrypted, all stored data is encrypted at rest, and all network traffic to and from the Windows 365-based cloud PCs is also encrypted.
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Windows 365 Pricing
Microsoft has said that Windows 365 will be available in two configurations – Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. The cloud PC platform will be made available on August 2. Though Microsoft is yet to reveal the prices for the subscription options, now the company has inadvertently shared one pricing option, $31 per month per user. For the said subscription, Microsoft will offer two CPUs with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This pricing option is part of the Windows 365 Business configuration. However, this isn’t the lowest-priced option, as the company will also be offering a single CPU with just 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.