by Steve Adams, US Partner Technology Strategist, Windows and Devices
Welcome to this month’s Windows Partner Community blog post.
One of the top questions I get from partners about Windows 10 is about what “Windows as a Service” means, and how they should think about it relative to their businesses. In today’s post, I’ll dig into this topic, in anticipation of the September 29 community call, where we’ll discuss this with Anthony (A.J.) Smith from the Windows team.
Defining Windows as a Service
Windows as a Service lets Microsoft bring continuous security and innovation to our shared customers, through a consistent stream of updates. This is in alignment with the Microsoft cloud services strategy across Office 365, Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. By providing users with always-on updates, we can better protect their systems and let them take advantage of new user experiences, productivity tools, and hardware innovations as they are released by the Windows engineering team. This approach supports the four Windows 10 innovation for business promises:
- Protection against modern security threats
- Managed for continuous innovation
- Increased productivity
- Innovative devices for your business
Understanding the partner opportunity
Customer IT departments quickly get concerned when we talk about “forced” updates. When it comes to application and peripheral compatibility, these concerns are understandable. The Windows as a Service strategy takes these concerns into account and gives IT the flexibility they need to deliver updates in a controlled fashion.
There are three scenarios for how Windows as a Services works:
|Current Branch||For employees that bring their own devices, Current Branch helps assure that those devices will always be up to date and secure. Updates are installed via Windows Update as they arrive.|
|Long Term Servicing Branch||Specialized systems such as traffic control, power grid, and life-saving medical devices are examples of an entirely different class of devices and equipment, and require a different update strategy. On these systems, new functions and features are not critical, but security takes a leading role. Managed with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), tighter control of these mission-critical systems is a reality, with the ability to lock them down where it is required.|
|Current Branch for Business||
Through Windows Update for Business, customers have the ability to keep their devices secure and up-to-date, while reducing device management costs and providing quick access to the latest security updates. To enable this, there are new and unique opportunities to work with your customers in planning to make this a reality.
Through our innovative update strategy, Windows as a Service, Microsoft is providing unprecedented flexibility and quality updates to customers. The opportunity is for us to now work together to help all of our customers understand this concept, and plan for the future.
Now that you have an overview of Windows as a Service, here’s what I recommend you do next to make it real for your teams and your customers:
- Join the Windows Insider Program to experience Windows as a Service firsthand. Read Gabe Aul’s blog post that explains why Windows Insiders are so important, how they impact what’s released, and how you can get started if you’re not yet involved
- Encourage your Windows-focused solution architects, consultants, and engineers to join us for the 6-week, level 300 virtual workshop, Windows 10 Management Masters, led by MVPs Johan Arwidmark and Mikael Nystrom
- For 100-level technical training, there’s a Windows 10 IT Pro readiness course available on demand from Microsoft Virtual Academy, and the Windows 10 tech center offers tools, step-by-step guides, and other resources
- The Windows Partner Roadshow is coming to several US cities. Register for the Technical Track or the Sales Track
- MPN members have access to Windows 10 related resources and benefits. Learn more about them in this blog post from Gavriella Schuster in the Worldwide Partner Group