Microsoft Touts Windows 7 for the Enterprise

Microsoft has provided additional guidance to enterprises on the value of its upcoming Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft is explaining why and how Windows 7 will be the right choice for business users.

Microsoft has provided additional guidance to enterprises on the value of its upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

In a March 4 blog post, Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft's senior director of product management for Windows Client, laid out some more of the company's positioning around Windows 7 for enterprise users.

Said Schuster:

""There's been a lot of talk in the community about what Windows 7 offers consumers. Today, I'd like to highlight the enterprise value of the product and how it reflects what customers and partners told us enterprises need most.""

Schuster noted some of the recent flap regarding feedback from Windows 7 testers and Microsoft's Windows 7 engineering team. "With Windows Vista, we learned a lot about how involved our customers and partners like to be in the development of an OS - in a nutshell, early and often," she said. "With Windows 7, we changed the way we developed the Windows OS in order to be more responsive to that feedback."

In a Feb. 25 blog post, Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft, addressed the issue of feedback from the beta testing community and Microsoft's interaction with the community.

Schuster's post is an adjunct to the Sinofsky post, but with more of an enterprise focus. Indeed, Schuster said research as well as development on the new operating system continues. "Research on Windows 7 overall continues today as we receive feedback from our beta testers," she said. "We've received over 500,000 Send Feedback reports on Windows 7 Beta. Thanks to our dedicated customers, we have hundreds of fixes in the pipeline. This is a testament to how we're taking your feedback and inputting it directly into Windows 7."

Discussing the enterprise nature of Windows 7, Schuster said:

""Windows 7 Enterprise mirrors what we learned during our planning and research phase and resulted in three big areas of investment:??Ç Making users Productive Anywhere is a focus on the mobile user community and empowering users with seamless access: We built technologies into Windows 7 such as BranchCache, Direct Access, Federated Search, and Enterprise Search Scopes to enable users to access to their data and applications anywhere and anytime.??Ç Improving Security and Control is a focus on protecting data, enabling compliance and giving IT better control: With this in mind we designed BitLocker To Go, which protects data stored on portable media, such as USB drives. This enables IT to only allow authorized users to read data or portable media, even if the media is lost or stolen. Additionally, AppLocker provides a mechanism for administrators to specify via Group Policy exactly what is allowed to run on their systems.??Ç Streamlining PC Management is a continued focus to drive the cost of managing a Windows environment down: Windows 7 makes managing and deploying desktops, laptops and virtual environments much easier. IT Pros can use the same tools and skills they use today with Windows Vista for Windows 7. New scripting and automation capabilities through Windows PowerShell 2.0 help reduce the costs of managing and troubleshooting PCs.""

Moreover, Schuster said Microsoft did qualitative research with more than 100 of its top customers, and quantitative research with nearly 4,000 customers in developing and emerging markets.

The quantitative research brought out three main areas of concern: risk management, compliance and mobility, Schuster said. Key findings included that 56 percent of those surveyed said they needed help protecting corporate data on laptops. "This validated our decision to include BitLocker in Windows 7 Enterprise, and to extend its capabilities to the portable hard drives that can be just as dangerous and more loosely monitored than laptops," Schuster said.

In addition, 61 percent of those surveyed expressed a "deep concern about ensuring their users install and use only authorized applications (for fear of security breaches from unauthorized applications). This helped prioritize our plan to develop AppLocker," Schuster said. And. "Forty-nine percent wanted to make it easier for remote workers to access corporate resources, bubbling a plan up for Direct Access capabilities, she said.

Meanwhile, in an earlier post, Schuster gave organizations guidance on how to make sense of the Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 dilemma.