Microsoft Says Windows 10 Anniversary Update Is Fit for Business

Following extensive feedback from corporate customers, the feature-packed and security-focused upgrade is cleared for large-scale business PC deployments.

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Windows 10 Business 2

After its release for general use this past summer, Microsoft has slapped the Current Branch for Business label on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

The Current Branch for Business designation is awarded about four months after the Current Branch of Windows is publicly released. Windows 10 Anniversary Update, or build Windows 10 version 1607, was officially launched on Aug. 2nd.

"This is an important milestone and signifies that this version has been validated by customers, OEMs and partners giving organizations the confidence to further accelerate deployments at scale," commented Michael Niehaus, director of product marketing for Windows 10 deployment, in a Nov. 29 blog post. "To reach this milestone, we have addressed nearly a thousand items of feedback from all types of customers, including enterprises performing pilot deployments," he continued, assuring customers that the upgraded operating system is now ready for their demanding business workloads.

Enhanced security is another reason to organizations to deploy the operating system, said Niehaus. Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes several security enhancements, including an early-warning system of sorts for Edge and Internet Explorer users called SmartScreen, a hardened environment for Windows Hello biometric data and an improved Windows Defender malware scanner.

Bolstered by Microsoft's machine-learning research, the company's cloud enables its security researchers to detect and block malware faster, often in mere minutes. As a result, Windows 10 is 58 percent less susceptible to ransomware than its predecessor, according to Niehause.

Ransomware has many an IT security professional on edge. This form of malware typically strikes after an unwitting user falls for a phishing email containing malicious links or file attachments.

After successfully infecting a system, ransomware seeks out files on both local and shared network drives, encrypting them in the process. Attackers then demand that victims pay up, typically in bitcoin, to regain access (the "ransom" part of ransomware).

Just after the Thanksgiving holiday last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MUNI) was hit by a ransomware attack affecting its ticket systems and fare gates (systems responsible for safety and primary operations were unaffected). According to Kaspersky Lab's most recent IT Threat Evolution report, ransomware attacks more than doubled in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the previous quarter (821,865 Kaspersky users were attacked in Q3).

Meanwhile, Microsoft is already working on Anniversary Update's successor.

The upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update (code-named Redstone 2), which is expected to arrive by spring 2017, will feature new apps and capabilities aimed at creative professionals. It will include a basic 3D modeling app called Paint 3D and software components to enable virtual- and augmented-reality experiences on off-the-shelf Windows PCs.

Business users can look forward to adding some 3D flair to their Office content. The update will enable users to embed 3D models into their Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, allowing for visuals and advanced 3D animations that appear to leap off the screen.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...