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If one year ago someone told you that Brad and Angelina would get divorced and the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series in 2016 you'd probably think that person was crazy.
Over the last 12 months, the enterprise desktop world has had its share of surprises as well. For example, Microsoft altered its Windows update model in Windows 7 and 8.1 to mirror the Windows 10 update process, which took a lot of control out of IT's hands in terms of which patches their users receive and when. The Anniversary Update left Windows 10 Pro users in disbelief by leaving out some Group Policy settings.
To try and keep the surprises to a minimum in 2017 -- at least when it comes to the enterprise -- three experts shared their thoughts on the year to come, including what's in store for the future of Windows 10 and more.
What to expect from Windows security
Kevin Beaver, Independent Consultant: Over the years there has been slow and steady progress in terms of enterprise desktop security. That said, we're not [where we need to be] quite yet. 2017 will continue to bring us weak/improper malware protection, minimal visibility in terms of logging security alerts and weak patching -- especially around third-party software, such as Java and Adobe products. It will also include little to no data loss prevention controls, including protecting information as it goes out to the cloud (i.e., via a cloud access security broker).
We can't expect perfection, especially across hundreds or thousands of desktops, but we can continue down the path of acknowledging the vulnerabilities and doing what's reasonable to minimize their effect on the business. What really needs to change is people's mindsets and approaches to security. There's a general lack of discipline that's holding most organizations back. Windows admins have to know their network and what's where, acknowledge how their systems and information are at risk, and do something about it. It's this process, repeated year after year, that makes for a secure environment.
How about the Creators Update?
Brien Posey, Freelance Technology Author: Microsoft announced the Creators Update a few months ago and some new hardware to go along with it. The Creators Update was all about adding support for things such as 3D and mixed reality. There will be other packs coming, and those packs will eventually be treated as roles that can be enabled or disabled on an individual basis. Microsoft will allow customers to turn feature updates such as the Creators Update on and off to achieve the functionality they want from the OS, but without making it too bloated by making all future add-on packs mandatory.
Microsoft has actually done that sort of thing before. In the past they created optional extensions for applications. Within a year we will see the same concept applied to Windows 10. I expect Microsoft to use the Windows Store to make it so customers can download and deploy the add-on packs they want to use.
Ed Tittel, Freelance Technology Writer: The release of the Creator's Update, will give Microsoft a chance to prove that modern Windows remains fit for the desktop and other devices. Microsoft's special emphasis for this release aims at those who create code, designs, artwork, 3D models, online content and more.
Can Microsoft deliver and keep up its rapid update cadence? The jury's still out. The biggest challenge for Windows 10 in 2017 will be to prove that end users can count on reasonable stability, predictability, and suitability for day-in, day-out work. So far, it's been a real struggle and the results have been less than completely convincing.
How Microsoft changed the Windows update process
Windows 10 migration station
Comprehensive Windows 10 guide