Microsoft has just announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will combine the power of large language models (LLMs) along with user data and signals from the Microsoft Graph – calendar, emails, Teams chats, documents, meetings etc.
In the sizzle style launch, Microsoft showed how Microsoft 365 Copilot will transform the power of Microsoft 365 apps and be able to turn an individual’s words into the “most powerful productivity tool on the planet“, while leveraging Microsoft’s existing commitments to data security and privacy.
Microsoft described existing AI systems as autopilot systems. Microsoft hopes to differentiate is by offering tools that use AI in a way to support human workers with humans at the center with that they called Copilot.
“We’re moving from autopilot to Copilot. As we build this next generation of AI, we made a conscious design choice to put the human at the centre of the product. Today is the start of the next step in this journey, with powerful foundation models and capable copilots accessible via the most universal interface – natural language – which will radically transform how computers help us think, plan and act.”
Satya Nadella | CEO | Microsoft.
Microsoft 365 Copilot isn’t just a better way of doing the same things – it represents an entirely new way of working. Copilot will be integrated into Microsoft 365 in two ways.
“Today, we are at the start of a new era of computing. Over the past few months, powerful new foundation models have been introduced, together with accessible natural language interfaces. This next generation of AI is fundamentally different from the AI we’ve grown accustomed”.
Sayta Nadella | CEO | Microsoft.
Copilot will soon be embedded in the Microsoft 365 apps people use every day – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, PowerBI etc – to unleash creativity, unlock productivity, and uplevel skills.
Business Chat, an entirely new experience that works across the LLM, Microsoft 365 apps, and user data to do things that have never been possible before. This will use natural language to allow users to able to spend less time searching for the right document or piece of information and more time creating, collaborating, and innovating.
With Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft has set the stage for the beginning of a new AI revolution that will further reinvent how people work and interact with the tools they use everyday. Microsoft will start this journey with a limited private preview and will provide additional details partners and customers over time…
I’d also expect similar to come into other apps like Visio too. Microsofts’ new Designer App and of course the new Bing are also leveraging Copilot.
Teams Copilot sneak peak
Microsoft shows some of the new AI smarts coming to #MicrosoftTeams too. Some this is expected very soon such as meeting recap in Teams Premium. Here’s the sizzle for the new AI powered Teams Copilot.
When and how much?
So the big questions around when and how much? Microsoft have said the roll out will be controlled and very phased starting with small. Private previews to ensure they perfect the model and make sure the experience is the best it can be.
From a cost perspective, we simply don’t know yet. Some of the features (such as meeting recap) are available soon in Teams Premium (a premium sku) but we don’t know yet what will be included across the core Microsoft 365 apps).
I suspect (this is just my opinion), Copilot will be incuded free in the core office apps (for personal and business subscribers) but corporate apps like Teams, PowerBI, Power Automate etc will be chargeable, as leveraging the wider OpenAI and ChatGPT APIs that are now available within Azure.
Microsoft is hosting a “The Future of Work: Reinventing Productivity with AI” event this week where they will no doubt start to talk about how their new ChatGPT-like AI will transform and adapt the traditional productivity apps like Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerBI, PowerPoint and of course Teams and Dynamics 365.
After announcing and making available in preview their Prometheus Model which is already available in the “new Bing” and Skype apps, last month, Satya Nadella and Jared Spataro, are running an hour-long online event on Thursday 16th March at 3pm UK time (8am PT) to talk more about the AI in Modern Work.
There’s already AI in some core products
Microsoft Teams has been given some AI love already within the new Teams Premium included new AI driven meeting insights and auto action taking.
Dynamics 365 apps have also seen some AI capabilities announced too, to help human workers delegate tedious tasks to machines. This new AI automation tool come in a preview form in a release called Dynamics 365 Copilot, and Microsoft sees automated content creation and algorithmically driven behaviour to help employees using customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems streamline work.
“Copilot brings the power of next-generation AI capabilities and natural language processing to Dynamics 365, working alongside business professionals to help them create ideas and content faster, complete time-consuming tasks, and get insights and next best actions – just by describing what’s needed,” explained Emily He, corporate VP of business applications marketing at Microsoft, in a recent blog post.
What do you hope to see?
With the event just around the corner, followed by Enterprise Connect in a couple of weeks, what do you think will be announced.?
Another Gartner Quadrant another winning result – as yet again, Microsoft continues it’s move up the quadrant – this year storming ahead of their competition in the Endpoint protection category with Defender for Endpoint.
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is designed to protect every endpoint platform an organisation may use including Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, and iOS. Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Defender for Business which was positioned to provide smaller businesses with a streamlined way to protect their organisations with enterprise-grade security at a price point that is attractive to businesses of this size.
For years, third-party endpoint protection and antivirus vendors have positioned there products as “needed” to protect Windows, as the past 5 years has shown, Microsoft is now probably the biggest the secuity company you didnt know existed with virtually every product catagory they have (from endpoint, to CASB) being gatner magic quadrant leaders.
Further more, as organisations look to consolidate tools, reduce admin overhead and “do more with less”, more organisations are looking at leveraging their investment in Microsoft 365 E5 by taking advantage of the extensive set of security tools included within their subscription. It’s not just about cost either – there is no compromise as Microsoft continues to make enormous investments (to the tune of four billion per annum) to ensure that they have the best security and compliance propositions in the market with products that continue to develop to meet customer expectations and the every growing threat landscape.
What is Microsoft Defender for Endpoint?
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is an enterprise endpoint security platform designed to help enterprise networks prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to advanced threats.
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is available in two plans, Defender for Endpoint Plan 1 and Plan 2. A new Microsoft Defender Vulnerability Management add-on is also available for Defender for Endpoint Plan 2 users.
The Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (DFE) features 6 key components (which vary depending on the licensing you have).
Core Defender Vulnerability Management
Built-in core vulnerability management capabilities use a modern risk-based approach to the discovery, assessment, prioritization, and remediation of endpoint vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
Attack Surface Reduction
Provides first line of defence in the stack, by ensuring configuration settings are properly set and exploit mitigation techniques are applied, the capabilities resist attacks and exploitation. This also includes network protection and web protection, which regulate access to malicious IP addresses, domains, and URLs.
Next Generation Protection
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint uses next-generation protection designed to catch all types of emerging threats.
Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
This detects, investigates, and responds to advanced threats that may have made it past the first two security pillars. Advanced hunting provides a query-based threat-hunting tool that lets you proactively find breaches and create custom detections.
Automated Investigation and Remediation
In conjunction with being able to quickly respond to advanced attacks, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint offers automatic investigation and remediation capabilities that help reduce the volume of alerts in minutes at scale.
Microsoft Secure Score for Devices
Defender for Endpoint includes Microsoft Secure Score for Devices to help you dynamically assess the security state of your enterprise network, identify unprotected systems, and take recommended actions to improve the overall security of the organisation
Microsoft Threat Experts
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint’s new managed threat hunting service provides proactive hunting, prioritization, and additional context and insights that further empower Security operation centres (SOCs) to identify and respond to threats quickly and accurately.
Key components of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
Integration across the wider Microsoft Stack
Defender for Endpoint naturally integrates extensively with various other Microsoft solutions, including:
Microsoft Defender for Cloud
Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
Microsoft Defender for Identity
Microsoft Defender for Office
Defender for Endpoint – Business v Plan 1 vs Plan
Defender for Endpoint is now available in three plans:
Defender for Business
Defender for Endpoint Plan 1
Defender for Endpoint Plan 2 (formerly known as Defender for Endpoint).
The Windows Insider program, which launched 9 years ago in 2014, was first used to gain early public feedback on the final stages of the development of Windows 10, is currently undergoing a huge restructure in terms of how testing will be carried out with Windows Insiders including a new “Canary Channel” for testers who want to be at the very forefront of trying the newest Windows features.
Why the changes? Well, Microsoft now update Windows 11 a little at a time (though moment updates). These will consist of collections of quality and feature updates that will be bundled together and released a few times a year. More extensive changes (those which update the kernel and core underlying OS) will be confined to annual “feature updates”. This is expected to now be the foundation for future changes to Windows.
This blog summarises the key changes. For the verbose version, checkout the official Windows Insider Blog
The “new” Insider Rings
The existing “Dev” channel, will soon (this month) be renamed to the “Canary” channel in which the newest and more experimental changes and features will be showcased for feedback.
The Canary channel will enable Windows Insiders to gain the earliest access to new builds with minimal validation and little. This build will not be recommended for daily drivers as users are likley to be testing builds that could be unstable, not working correctly and less tested that’ll those in the current Dev Channel.
These will be builds in the 25000 series.
The Dev Channel
The new “Dev Channel” will now be a half way house between the existing Dev and Beta channels. Insiders in this channel will continue to be able to test early features that may never make it to the stable version (release) of the Windows operating system. They will be better tested, will have the level of documentation and build notes that Insiders have become accustomed too and will be more stable.t
These will be builds in the 23000 series.
Beta and Release Channels
The Beta and Release Preview channels are not currently being changes. The Beta channel will remain more stable than the Dev channel, and Microsoft say that features in this build are likely to make it into future final release builds of Windows.
Beta builds will be in the 22000 series.
Getting on the right Channel
The restructuring of the Windows Insider Channels will require some choices to be made.
Anyone / any device currently on the Dev channel will be automatically moved to the Canary channel, where they will continue to receive Windows updates with build numbers in the 25000s range. These will be less stable that the current Dev channel.
Anyone wanting to move to the new Dev channel (to obtain the 23000 series builds) will require to initiate a clean build (rebuild) of their device and to then re-enrol their device on the new Dev Channel.
Users on the Beta and Release Preview channel will not need to do anything thought they will be able to move to the new Dev channel without needing to reinstall the OS.
Windows 365 is “Windows as a Service – a cloud-based service that automatically creates a new type of Windows virtual machine (Cloud PCs) for users. Each Cloud PC is assigned to an individual user and is their dedicated Windows device. Windows 365 provides the productivity, security, and collaboration benefits of Windows and Microsoft 365.”
Windows 365 is “similar” to a dedicated virtual desktop assignment in an Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment, but is delivered as a SaaS service, providing a dedicated Cloud PC that users can remotely sign in to. It is also significantly simpler to set-up and manage that VDI infrastructure and offers a simpler commercial model.
You may ask yourself, “Why would I want to stream a computer to….well another computer?” Well – there is more to that – let’s look at Microsoft Marketing!
Fruit of the Loom – because one-size doesn’t fit all.
Just like your Microsoft 365 subscriptions, Windows 365 is available in both Business and Enterprise Versions.
Windows 365 Enterprise is designed for organisations who have already invested in Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager and using Endpoint Manager to deploy and manage their Windows 10/11 devices. This means that if you want to start using Windows 365 Enterprise you will also need a license that includes Intune.
Windows 365 Business is aimed at any size organisation with less than 300 users that need a Cloud PC. This is the same service – but a little more no-frills. Windows 365 Business does not support joining to a custom (Azure) Vnet, and also does not allow users to connect to on-premises resources (yet) – it is for Cloud Native users.
What is best for your organisation is based on a couple of things. If you want to have a quick lightly managed device for your end users or are just running a pilot – Windows 365 Business is a good place to start (it’s cheaper too). If you want to have more control, access on-prem resources and manage the Cloud PCs in the same way you manage your physical desktops then Windows 365 Enterprise is best. To see a full comparison, check out the docs from Microsoft.
Windows 365 is available through three plans. Each plan is available as Windows 365 Enterprise or Windows 365 Business edition and each plan is of course priced differently ranging from £23.90 (RRP) for Business Basic all the way up to £56.20 for Enterprise Premium which has 16GB RAM/4 CPUs and 128GB Storage – you can also customise your own spec if you like!
Basic: For running light productivity tools, frontline tools and browser-based apps
Standard: For most users that need full range of productivity tools & line-of-business apps.
Premium: For users that need high-performance compute and heavier data processing.
I’ve been running on a mid-range Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC with 8GB RAM and 128GB Storage which was ample for all my day-to-day use
The User Experience – Test Flight
Windows 365 is available on a browser or dedicated app on Windows 10 and Windows 11 (and soon for iOS and Android). Regardless of how you access it, the user experience is an instant (well actually always on if you prefer), high-performance and reliable personal desktop experience (that’s also optimised for Microsoft Teams and your other Microsoft 365 apps) regardless of the apps you use. Once running fall screen, you totally forget is a Cloud PC – even things like touch and pen work if your physical device has those properties.
Who’s is Windows 365 for?
Windows 365 isn’t designed for the consumer market. Instead, it’s for companies and enterprises that need to deploy a network over a large area. It’s also designed to allow businesses to utilize computing power as they see fit.
The question – will the Cloud PC “era” revolutionise business computing, after VDI has (and is in some areas) still heavily used from a security, agility, and remote purpose.
One view is that organisations will be able to offer more choice, support BYOD and no longer need to money spend on high-end physical compute devices, deal with logistics, repairs, maintenance, and lifecycle management. All employee’s need is an existing device / browser and a reliable internet connection access their Windows 365 Cloud PC. Since this is a subscription service (like other SaaS apps), they can avoid capital expenditure on laptops and desktops that may not get used 100 percent of the time, allowing them to be more efficient with the use of their resources.
On the other side, many organisations have been investing in modern mobile computing like the Surface Pro 9 5G for hybrid work with local apps that access cloud services like Microsoft Teams and Office 365 etc.
Common Scenarios? There are many scenarios in which neither model is best and as such we typically seem a blended approach (some with physical devices some with Cloud PCs or even both!!). Some may compliment their laptop and local app deployment model with technology like Cloud PC for accessing certain apps, apps that require additional security such as finance apps or development platforms. There will also be scenarios in which a Cloud PC only environment works. Let’s explore some of these below.
Long term remote or contract workers that may not need a corporate device because they choose to use their own or because providing them with one is cumbersome and logistically difficult. For example, you may have a new contractor working with you full time for a period of weeks or months. Windows 365 Cloud PCs can be be used to create a dedicated, cloud-based environment for contractors with access to a specific set of applications, access to specific parts of your network and have specific conditional access policies. With Cloud PC, IT can quickly enable this securely on their personal device, with whatever restrictions you choose, completely isolated from their personal desktop.
Remote Work / work from anywhere – For example, you might be working from home or the office on your laptop and leave to go home, into the office or just to grab a coffee at the local cafe. Instead of lugging your laptop along, you could simply take your tablet/iPad and access your Cloud PC where you left off. This is also a great use case when on holiday and you need to access your desktop.
For specialist apps or secure environment – You may have roles within the business such as finance, surveyors, 3D modellers, programmers etc, who work on petabytes of data on a dedicated high-end workstation. For these people working remotely may not be an option or accessing seamless is a security nightmare. With Windows 365, these employees could have access to the same PC power as their office workstation on a secure environment on their own home PC or tablet.
To get super-fast internet access if you have isolated remote workers. Another advantage of Windows 365 is superfast internet. How? Well, since your Cloud PC runs from the Microsoft Cloud, you are essentially streaming just the screen – all your local apps, file and processing are done in the Cloud, so when you download large data from Office 365 or any other source, it’s actually being downloaded to and from Microsoft’s data centres, which means super-fast internet. Microsoft demo’d a speed test which showed download speeds of up to 10 GBPS and upload speeds of up to 4 GBPS. In my tests I received the following.
New employees and for improving the break-fix experience – For employees that develop a fault with their corporate laptop or for new employees that don’t yet have a laptop, Windows 365 can be a great fit. Instead of getting them to use their own device as a BYOD device mode (which is not secure, breaches company security policy, could increase risk of breach, malware infestation etc), while they wait for a device or repair, use Windows 365 to quickly provision them a corporate Cloud PC which they can access from any device and that looks and feels exactly like the experience they are used to. This minimises impact to the user, keeps them productive, reducing urgency in repair or device procurement and can make for a super slick process for all involved.
Windows 365 from an Admin Experience
Now then, I am not an IT administrator anymore (I was once), but from the experience I have had setting up demo and test environments, it is so simple. Reason being, there is no setting up and maintaining complex VDI network and software infrastructure or different tools to use for management, since everything is managed through Intune – which you probably already use!
Using Intune, IT can manage both physical and virtual devices in one place making it simple to deploy software, add new Cloud PCs, upgrade Cloud PCs and of course, reset them, delete them and re-provisioning them. IT can also easily see how much computing power each Cloud PC or user is using and because they run in Azure (which is Carbon Neutral), you can technically deploy an entire fleet of Cloud PCs with zero CO2 overhead! Onboarding users is simple too, as you can simply make a user part of the right group (ensuring they also have a license) and a new Cloud PC is automatically provisioned which takes less than an hour. If you have autopilot enabled, then just like a physical device, the apps, configuration, settings etc are all applied as part of the build!
Since device specification is controlled by a license – should a user needs a more powerful device, IT can simply assign a different license – no waiting on a complex configuration change or buying a new physical PC (also good for the environment). The opposite also applies as a Cloud PC can be changed to a lower power device – saving compute power and licensing costs! Network performance monitoring is also built inside Windows 365 and because every Cloud PC runs from Microsoft’s Cloud they get laser-fast and direct connect connectivity to your Microsoft 365 app and Azure and being a Microsoft Cloud Service – Microsoft continuously monitor and run diagnostics on your Windows 365 environment – meaning if they detect an issue (either with your config or theirs), IT get notified!
One of the big appeals of Windows 365 is for remote work, temporary staff, new joiners, contractors, and students. Since the Cloud PC is…well in the cloud, it’s inherently more secure – protected by the same enterprise class security, identity, and compliance solutions from Microsoft that most admins will already use. Since Cloud PC is accessed via a secure browser or the Windows 365 app, it is isolated and insulated from most threats, and since is not directly installed on your device, it’s inherently more secure and can be configured to have no local access removing the risk from malware or ransomware from the underlying physical device.
Cloud PC also supports Azure AD Single Sign (and even password-less sign-on) on which gives a frictionless user experience without the need to use separate passwords – reducing the risk of credential theft in your environment which is especially useful when used with personal devices.
“By leveraging Windows 365 we can quickly and easily provide contactors with Windows 11 desktops which they can access on their own laptops meaning they are protected by our security and compliance policies. These Cloud PCs are instantly available from any device and any location, with little to no risk from the physical device they use to connect from”.
A customer quote!
Windows 365 vsAzure Virtual Desktop
How is Windows 365 different to Azure Virtual Desktop then?
Where Windows 365 Cloud PC is a dedicated desktop, managed by Microsoft as a SaaS app, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) service which runs in Azure. With AVD, organisations have more full granular control over the environment build, and can configure a fully tailored, customised desktop and application virtualisation experience using either pooled or dedicated (one to one) desktops. Windows 365 is dedicated desktop and does not support multi session like AVD does. Billing of AVD is based on Azure usage whereas, Windows 365 is a single subscription per user and billed on a flat per user, per month fee (based on the spec of the machine).
Both Windows 365 and AVD make use of some overlapping technology, so they may seem similar but there are major differences.
How to Get Started with Windows 365
Procure some licenses from your partner or Microsoft direct
Configure Windows 365 from Intune
Configure the on-premises network connection
Create Security Group for Cloud PC users
Assign a Cloud PC license to your users (or at group level)
Create a Provisioning Policy
Configure Hybrid Azure AD Join or Native Azure AD Join
Create or assign a custom or stock image
Enable and configure updates for Windows 365 (you can even use Autopatch)
Assign users to the group created in step 5
get the user to download the Windows 365 App or connect via a browser at
Hybrid Work and the growth of SaaS makes troubleshooting end user experience so much harder.
ThousandEyes by Cisco is a digital end user experience monitoring solution that helps ensure your business SaaS apps are running at optimum performance wherever your employees or customers are.
ThousandEyes proactively monitors, alerts, and provides visual “route cause analysis” within minutes of a User Experience issue, regardless of if whether the issue is the LAN, WAN, Internet, “XaaS”, ISP, Collaboration Service (such as Teams, Webex or Zoom), or Cloud Provider. It can even determine whether the issue is caused by any third-party dependency such as Content Delivery network, Application, Connector, Secure Web Gateway, Identity Provider, or firewall.
What is ThousandEyes?
ThousandEyes enables organisations to rapidly increase the responsiveness of support teams and managed service providers by providing end-to-end visibility and performance monitoring across the ever-changing and distributed IT landscape wherever your applications, data, infrastructure, user, and devices are located by. This helps organisations to:
Better support their hybrid workforce with near-real-time visibility of the employee’s experience.
Quickly identify and solve app experience issues by continually monitoring employee interactions with web and SaaS-based applications.
Gain end-to-end visibility from the user, across the network, WAN, and the Internet as well as to their cloud service providers and SaaS applications.
Cisco Thousand Eyes provides and end-to-end End user Experience Monitoring to help ensure that your employees / customers experience of your service or applications is “as expected” and helps proactively detect when there are issues which might impact this performance before users start complaining.
Thousand Eyes provides end to end visibility and intelligence”. Its aim is to help IT provide the best possible employee and customer experience, whatever the application or service by comprehensively measuring and monitoring network performance end-to-end. This means that IT get complete visibility across the internet or WAN, edge, network, application, routing, and device layers to see exactly how and where the Internet and WAN connectivity is impacting employee or customer user experience.
Paying customers of ThousandEyes – and one of its’ killer features, is its’ ability to perform performance “snapshots” which provide clear-cut information – either on demand, or on a schedule. These can be shared with people outside your organisation and is pivotal to proving where the fault lies, therefore helping to help SaaS vendors troubleshoot their own infrastructure and it won’t be a surprise that many of the worlds’ largest SaaS providers are also Cisco Thousand Eye customers!
It does this by using “active monitoring” that utilises a software agent that simulates user activity and checks availability from multiple locations. Cisco leverage Thousand Eyes agents across much of their network equipment including wireless access points and switches (such as the Cisco Catalyst 9k), Cisco SDWAN solutions and SASE services, and is even incorporated into their Webex Meetings platform. There are also agents for desktop devices that can be deployed and what’s more you don’t need a Cisco network to use it. Thousand Eyes is proven to work well with leading SaaS and collaboration platforms such as Slack, Webex and Microsoft Teams.
The Synthetic testing constantly simulates user interaction with SaaS and Web applications, represented by a series of page loads interspersed with interactions like typing in fields and clicking buttons, making the synthetic test “feel” like a user to the actual applications under test. These tests are invaluable to application and network operations staff, since it helps IT and App Support better understand actual user experiences rather than playing the best guess or deflect game. These are presented back as “experience scores” which can be reported on, alert and track trends over time, providing an early warning before issues arise.
What problem does ThousandEyes fix?
In short, when an employee or a customer has a bad digital experience, they don’t care where the problem is, or what has caused it – they simply want to know what is wrong and when it might be resolved.
The need and therefore market for this kind of tool is increasing, as the global pandemic dramatically accelerated the shift to the cloud and SaaS apps, and with the hybrid work, now just the way we work, we need a better way of monitoring and managing the end-to-end employee experience in an environment that no longer directly in control of IT!
As the world settles into what is now a hybrid work world dominated by the continual adoption of SaaS apps and work from anywhere mindset, visibility into how applications are performing for your employees and customers across the internet and various cloud services is critical to business continuity, employee, and customer experience.
Hybrid Work and the growth of SaaS makes troubleshooting end user experience so much harder.
Today, we, many organisations are still reliant on “self-diagnosis” (or no diagnosis), which leads to conversations like “it’s the network” or “my broadband is slow” or “XXX application is running slow”. This might have been ok during the peak of the pandemic when everyone was sent home to work and was “making the best out of temporary situation”, but three years on this from this, diagnosing and troubleshooting performance related issues is still too commonplace. Now, more than ever, the ability to monitor the end-to-end performance of your business apps, dictates the experience of your customers and employees and the excuses of before are no longer tolerated.
When an employee or a customer has a baddigital experience,they don’t care where the problem is or what has caused it – they simply want it fixed quickly.
Many of these issues are not new, but the shift to cloud and our new distributed hybrid workforce, means that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to understand and support the right “experience” using traditional legacy application performance management tools. What’s more the lack of visibility can often means employees and customers can be having a poor experience without IT or support evening knowing about it until someone complains!
Who needs ThousandEyes?
Do you have employee experience issues due to lack of Internet, WAN or SaaS visibility?
How do you know your Content Delivery Provider is serving your content quickly and consistently whether users at home or in the office?
Do you have inhouse web apps and need a better way of understanding how they perform? when your users work remotely or from disparate offices?
Does your IT help desk struggle to add value and provide answers to users experience issue with SaaS applications?
Is the lack of visibility and ability to monitor cloud apps, impacting employee productivity and/or customer experience?
If the answer to the above is mainly “yes”, then it’s worth looking at investing your time in a proof of concept to see how Thousand Eyes could help.
Personally, I think ThousandEyes is a great fit for any organisation with a cloud-first approach that has offices globally and leverages a high degree of hybrid workers (that’s most of us right!)! Whilst it’s not limited to those with only Cisco networks, the economics work well for organisations that already leverage Cisco networking, due to native integration across most of Cisco’s core product offerings including their Cisco Catalyst networking, SASE, SDWAN and their Collaboration suite (Webex).
This makes integration and deployment slick and negates the need to deploy additional agents, since Cisco include the ThousandEyes agent across many of their devices. Customers that buy into Cisco Enterprise Agreements also get a more competitive price point for ThousandEyes and from a support perspective it’s an integrated suite which means less finger pointing.
Speak to a Cisco partner for help
Speak to your favourite Cisco Gold Partner (I’m happy to help you need one) and they will be able to help demonstrate, deploy, configure, and support ThousandEyes for your organisation.
You will find your trusted Cisco partner can help in many ways including:
Demos, PoCs or specific product/application performance assistance
Cisco funded free trials
Help with business case development following a successful PoV
Scoping, deployment and tuning to ensure you can monitor all your in-house web and public SaaS hosted applications, connecting into your underlying Wireless LAN, WAN, MPLS, Internet connectivity and WFH remote locations to provide end-to-end visibility and end user performance monitoring.
Consultancy and support to ensure key departments, locations, users, and application estate is under cover.
Access to the best pricing through your Cisco Gold Partner.
See it action and find out more
Cisco provide free to access to this awesome “live outages site” where you can look at the live state of the world’s most popular commercial and consumer cloud services and see just how comprehensive and simple it is to use.
As an “evergreen” Operating System, Microsoft is continually enhancing and improving Windows 11, with the help of user feedback, community voice and the work it does with the @WindowsInsidercommunity to make Windows better and better. Microsoft released the Windows 11 2022 Update at the end of last year which featured loads of improvements and features.
As the hybrid workplace continues to adapt and change, it will come as no surprise that there are a tone of further updates planned for Windows 11 in 2023 which will see Microsoft ramp up the pace of update releases rather than the “traditional” annual update cycles.
It’s all about “moments”.
Outside the core update cycles, Microsoft will also be shipping more frequent updates known as and enhancements known as “Moment updates“. The first moment update shipped in October 2022 and included a number of highly requested features such as tabs in File Explorer – which, just like in an Edge browser, help users stay more focussed and organised when working with files and folders and negates the need to have multiple instances of File Explorer open – also thereby preserving system resources and saving energy.
As get well in to the first quarter of 2023, Windows 11’s ‘Moment 2’ update is expected to to ship sometime in March and has been being tested by Windows Insiders for a couple of months now. To be released via Windows Update, the moment 2 update will include another set of highly requested features and improvements. Having been part of the testing and feedback panel on this, I wanted to share some of the key things coming imminently…
Taskbar enhancements There a bunch of new customisation features and adaptive enhancements in this update.
On of my biggest favourites is some big enhancements to the taskbar.
First up is that Microsoft is bringing the new AI-powered Bing experience directly into the search bar in Windows 11.
Second is improved the experience when the Windows device is in “tablet mode” – which is most applicable to users with devices like the Surface Pro an other 2-in-1 devices. This works really well and makes Windows 11 much more intuitive when working in different orientations. It has come a long way since Windows 10.
With this update, users will see a new adaptive Taskbar that is better optimised for tablet use and touch. The key change here is ensuring that the Taskbar no longer gets in the way when in tablet mode, making better use of the screen real estate.
Third up, the Taskbar is also getting 4 new search bar options (which Microsoft have been experimenting with for a few months with Insiders. These will include options for no icon, a search icon, a search icon with label, and traditional search box.
Next up (I said there were loads), users will be able to swipe up on the Taskbar to get access to their pinned and running applications icons for simple interaction and by continuing the swipe up action, you are seamlessly transitioned to the Start Menu automatically.
Finally, users will have the ability to pin and unpin background apps to the taskbar via the Settings app. This useful for users that aren’t a fan of the System Tray overflow menu. As such users will now have the choice of disabling this feature. Windows 11’s overflow flyout view will also now allows for more icons to be shown.
Task Manager and Settings app changes
This update will also see some new enhancements to Task Manager, including a new search bar at the top which will allow users to quickly carry out searches on files without having to navigate or use menus. Microsoft have also updates some of the new popup dialogs to keep it in line with the fluent design. Accent colour matching has also been improved.
The Settings app also gets a handful of updates all centred around enhancing the user’s experience and how they interact with the OS based. One of the new key features in this update is the inclusion of a new Energy Recommendations feature that is now included within the Power & Sleep section – see the little video below.
This enables users to easily view and adjust energy efficient settings (which is also guided by the aid of a little wizard) and allows aspects like changing the time it takes for the device to go to sleep, what happens to USB de
vices in sleep mode when it can’t detect any input.
Other updates across the OS
File Explorer has also been further enhanced. For example, when you type into the search box, the results will be displayed instantly. The search box also appears to have reduced in size.
Other key changes include expanded voice commands supported by the Voice Access feature, the Snipping tool now comes with two buttons, Snip and Record. This means you can now screen record your display, and even pause and play it, though it is a real same that there is no simple blur tool to mask out any private information without the need to use third party tools….. [please add this Microsoft]
Keep up to date
To find out more about the Windows Insider Programme and to follow the updates to Windows 11, check out the Windows Insider Blog