Microsoft is planning to release the commercial version of Windows 10 this fall. Two days ago they released the Windows 10 Preview which will permit some users to test out the new system.
At the same time they announced a new security feature, Device Guard, targeted at enterprise adopters. The idea may be to encourage enterprise customers to upgrade to the new OS as often Microsoft finds it hard to get large adopters to move quickly with new operating systems. A quick search of the internet shows that 75% of enterprise domains are still using Windows 7. This obviously becomes a big target for Microsoft to attack with a new operating system release.
What is Device Guard?
Device Guard is a hardware focused anti malware tool which permits enterprise IT departments to specify what software can execute on a system. It will require new hardware which has been optimized for the tool in order for it to be used. Of course new hardware deployment is the most common way that large adopters will upgrade an operating system so the plan makes sense. Microsoft appears to feel that hardware based security is better than software based systems.
Explaining what Device Guard does takes a bit of technical knowledge but essentially it sets the system up so that only approved software of all types can operate on the Windows system, stopping nefarious software from getting a hold on the computer. If you wish to understand it further here is a Tech Republic article that details the way the tool works.
One of the key benefits of the Device Guard concept is that it detects the validity of the software before it executes, thus avoiding one of the pitfalls with traditional anti virus and anti malware software which need the software to have taken some action before they can react. "When an app is executed, Windows will determine whether it is trustworthy, and will notify the user if it is not," is the way the process works according to a CIO Today description.
Windows 10 is not only about better security of course. There are planned changes in handling email and many other tools which will be provided through related application software taking advantage of specific Windows 10 capabilities. As always, finding out exactly what works and what does not work takes a bit of time so it will be interesting to see reactions to the Windows 10 release as more users are able to try the OS with the preview release.
Should you plan to upgrade? Hard to tell right now but if you are already using Windows 8.1 then the shift may be pretty easy. Going from Windows 7 will take a bit more effort and study but Windows 7 was officially released in July 2009 which is six years ago this summer. That is a long time in software life so it just may be time to look at a new operating system. If you need a hardware upgrade as well then the new OS will become inevitable so taking some time to learn more now is a good use of effort.
Photo Credit: By Microsoft Corporation (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Trademark of Microsoft Corporation