Microsoft 365 Cloud PC: What Is It and How Does It Work?
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription model of Microsoft’s suite Microsoft Office. It comes with the same core applications as Microsoft’s traditional versions, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. Depending on the plan you purchase, it may also include other apps and services like OneDrive, Publisher, Planner, exchange, Access, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams. The platform also comes with a variety of packages available to you when licensing for Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 Cloud Editions
The Microsoft 365 Cloud PC will be available in two distinct editions; Business and Enterprise, both powered by Azure Virtual Desktop. You can configure individual Cloud PCs with a single CPU, 64 GB of storage, and 2 GB RAM at the low-end. You can have up to eight CPUs, 512 GB of storage, and 32 GB RAM on the higher end.
Microsoft provides 12 different configurations for both editions, and you can scale the processing power, leaving you with lots of options to choose from.
Microsoft 365 Cloud PC will only be available for businesses after its official launch on August 2, 2021, being available to users with a per-user monthly subscription cost. However, the company has not revealed the pricing details, which it will avail after the launch. Businesses can expect to have plans for one-person settings all the way to plans for organizations with hundreds of employees.
It will be possible for you to create Cloud PCs without taking much time and immediately allocate them to your employees. This removes the need for dedicated physical hardware, which is appealing, especially for remote workers or contract staff. With the entire business Windows PC in the cloud, your employees don’t have to worry about navigating VPNs or their personal devices’ security.
How Microsoft 365 Differs from Other Office Editions
Being a subscription-based platform, you will always have access to the latest version as soon as Microsoft updates it on its end. It contrasts to perpetual on-premises Microsoft versions where you have to buy a new copy of every updated Microsoft edition to access the new features.
Microsoft 365 comes as a cloud-first application, but desktop versions are also available with some plans. However, its design is for online use, where all the services, applications, and data are hosted on Microsoft Servers. The platform also provides cloud storage space and email hosting, which lets you access your files online and from any location whenever you need them as long as you have an internet connection. Fortunately, you don’t need to install any software or maintain the hardware on which you run it.
The Requirements for Running Windows 365?
Microsoft conveniently breaks down the requirements for running Windows 365 Cloud PC into licensing and non-licensing requirements. For the licensing requirements:
- On Windows Pro end-points: you will require Microsoft 365 F3, E5, E3, Business Premium, or Windows 10 Enterprise EMS E3 + E3.
- On non-windows Pro: you will need Microsoft 365F5, E3, F3 or Business Premium, or Windows VDA E3 + EMS E3.
For the non-licensing necessities, you will need:
- AAD (Azure Active Directory- Hybrid)
- Virtual Network in Azure subscription
- Azure subscription
It’s also worth noting that Windows 365 Cloud PC will run on Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems. According to the company, you can safely assume that Cloud PCs powered by Windows 10 will get support through the end of the platform’s life cycle, which will happen in October 2025. Better still, your business will be able to run virtual PCs powered by both Windows 10 and Windows 11 concurrently.
Benefits of Using Microsoft 365 Cloud PC
The platform provides full windows experience in the cloud on any device. Recent research shows that 73% of remote workers will stay with their employers if offered flexible remote work options. At the same time, another 67% say that they prefer work environments that promote more in-person collaboration. This leaves employers with a hybrid work paradox without knowing how to balance access to the organization’s resources in-office, remotely, and all points in between.
Fortunately, Microsoft 365 Cloud PC comes to deliver a new experience through the power of the cloud. It goes a long way to solve both traditional and novel challenges for business,
With the Microsoft 365 Cloud PC for small and medium enterprises, you will benefit from:
- Hybrid Windows for a hybrid environment: the platform integrates the security and power of the cloud with the simplicity and versatility of the PC. It allows for various new scenarios for the new world of work.
- Windows in the cloud: you can securely stream your Windows experience with your Windows 365 Cloud PC from the Microsoft cloud to any device.
- Work anywhere: you can pick up from where you left off your work for a personalized Windows experience on any device
- Simplified management: you can conveniently manage your Cloud PCs from anywhere
- Access to all your resources: through the Cloud PC, you can use popular apps, access all your data, line-of-business apps, and other content.
- Increased productivity: let employees work from anywhere when they want, share documents, and collaborate in real-time.
- Minimized risks: the cloud offers safer storage than on-premises servers and defends your data against cyber incidents
- Improved cost management and streamlined IT: Enjoy desktop virtualization benefits without IT expertise or other typical costs. You will save on IT and automation costs.
Potential Pitfalls of Microsoft 365 Cloud PC
Despite the many benefits of the Microsoft 365 Cloud PC, it has some shortcomings, the biggest one being the constant need for an internet connection to load or access files. Poor internet connection and regular downtime can create a problem for your business as file and data access will be affected.
Your data may also not be completely secure since issues around cybersecurity will not be in your hands as you have surrendered to an external employee. Microsoft’s regulations for safety and management may interfere with your businesses’ daily activities. For example, they may prevent you from importing certain file types. However, in such situations, you can switch to other plans for personalized data control.
Lastly, Microsoft 365 may not be compatible with some features on your old system. This can be a disheartening scenario for your business to handle. In such a case, you can mitigate the drawback by using third-party tools that allow you to view and edit documents without subscribing to a plan. However, they can be very limiting sometimes.
Overall, Microsoft 365 Cloud PC comes with several benefits for your business, outweighing the potential pitfalls. If you’re considering moving to the platform once it launches, this is the best time to prepare. Having an expert help you in the process will minimize the challenges that come with the process. It also an excellent idea to have an expert help you navigate the potential pitfalls without incurring additional business costs.
OnServe is your go-to Microsoft partner in Kingston and Brockville in Eastern Ontario, Canada. Call us today for further consultation as we help you put your business technology under control.