You can be forgiven if you missed the big unveiling of Windows 365 as it was launched alongside (and somewhat overshadowed by) Windows 11, Microsoft’s brand new version of their flagship OS.
But don’t be fooled, Windows 365 is a big deal. It represents a big change in how Windows works and is definitely a big shift towards cloud computing. In particular, by making Cloud Desktop accessible for many users for the first time.
What is Windows 365?
Windows 365 is Microsoft’s first fully cloud operating system. They call it a “Cloud PC.”
Put simply, It’s like having your Windows 11 PC in the cloud. The big advantage of this is that you can access your PC (including your apps, files and settings) from anywhere on practically any device. Your Windows 365 Cloud PC is accessed via a web browser or using the Microsoft Remote Desktop app.
Another advantage is that you potentially can run Windows 365 on a much lower spec machine than with Windows 11. As we mentioned in our Windows 11 article, the requirements for Windows 11 are fairly specific – only certain machines can run it. With Windows 365, your PC is hosted with Microsoft in their data centre, so this is not something you need to worry about.
What is the difference between Windows 365, Office 365, Microsoft 365 and Windows 11?
Windows 365, Office 365, Microsoft 365 and Windows 11 – let’s be honest, it’s very easy to get them all confused!
Actually, the difference is fairly easy to understand.
Firstly Windows 11 v Windows 365. Both are almost the same – they are both identical operating systems but one sits in the cloud (Windows 365) and the other one is installed locally on your machine (Windows 11).
Microsoft 365 and Office 365 are the same – these both refer to the suite of Microsoft Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneDrive that are primarily cloud-based. Microsoft simply renamed Office 365 to Microsoft 365 last year. However, confusingly, some Microsoft 365 packages do also include Windows!
Do I need Windows 365?
Like cloud computing in general, Windows 365 offers several great benefits including improved security, accessing your same desktop from anywhere, being able to use almost any device and more.
Considering the huge shift over the past two years to remote working and so-called “hybrid working” – working across several locations such as home and work – the cloud model is something that makes sense for many people and businesses.
However, there are a few things to factor in when deciding if Windows 365 is the right cloud product for you.
Firstly, it is important to understand that Windows 365 is a hosted service. You pay for your subscription monthly rather than owning your license outright like with Windows 11. In essence, you “rent” your desktop from Microsoft. This is not necessarily a bad thing as a simple monthly cost can be more manageable and easier to budget for. Costs start at £17 per user per month but this is for the most basic spec and costs can go into the hundreds. It’s a good idea to do some calculations at the outset to figure out if Windows 365 is cost-effective in your situation.
There are management features available for larger businesses who want to deploy Windows 365 such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager. However, for some businesses who need greater levels of control and need to provide a more custom experience to their users, a fully private-cloud solution like our own CoretekCloud may be a better bet.
The same is true for more complex Line-of-Business apps, especially those with custom or database requirements. Windows 365 may not be the best option in these situations.
So, Windows 365 offers a very exciting shift by moving Windows into the cloud. It may not be right for all but offers some great features nonetheless.
Are you wondering if Windows 365 is right for your business? Do you want to find out how cloud computing can benefit your business in general? If so, please get in touch with our friendly team!