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windows 10As Microsoft gears up for the second anniversary of Windows 10 next week, managed service providers should plan on seeing a lot more of the latest version of Windows on corporate desktops.

Overall, Microsoft claims to have delivered more than 380 million instances of Windows 10 already. Most of those instances of Windows 10 are running on consumer devices, though. More interesting to MSPs is the fact that Microsoft also claims that 85 percent of the Fortune 500 have been piloting Windows 10. Couple that with an estimated third of the small-to-medium (SMB) market running some form of Windows 10, and it’s clear that starting this fall MSPs should be seeing Windows 10 on more of the endpoints they support.

To make sure that happens, Microsoft is also releasing an anniversary update to Windows 10. In the past this release might have been known as a Service Pack 2 release. But now that Microsoft delivers Windows 10 as a service, the company is trying to move away from a paradigm that often resulted in customers not staying current with various Microsoft updates.

Corporate challenges with Windows 10

Nevertheless, this update brings with it critical new features for corporate IT environments, including support for Advanced Threat Protection security software and Windows Information Protection tools that make it easier to isolate corporate and personal data running on Windows 10. At a time when issues such as ransomware are putting more focus on end point security, customer interest in these new capabilities should be high.

Of course, the odds that most customers will completely standardize on Windows 10 are still slim. Not only does Microsoft find itself in a battle with Apple for control of the corporate desktop, it has to contend with many customers who are quite content to run Windows 7 for the foreseeable future. Add in a few instances of Windows 8 and even a few older Windows XP desktops, and MSPs today routinely have to manage a wide variety of endpoints.

On top of that, not all of those desktops are being updated as a service the way Windows 10 is. Plus, many companies have opted out of the automatic update schedule created by Microsoft in favor of being able to determine when to update Windows 10 themselves within a specified period of time.

Increasingly complex endpoints

The good news for MSPs is that there is more complexity at the endpoint than ever. The bad news is that there is more complexity at the endpoint than ever. All that complexity tends to push organizations to look for external help to manage it all. But given the diversity of endpoints that need to be supported, it’s costly to deliver those services at a time when most MSPs are under continual pricing pressure.

Overall, change at the endpoint is almost always a good thing for MSPs because it tends to drive more demand for their services. The real challenge is finding a way to deliver those services across a broad spectrum of endpoints without breaking the proverbial MSP bank.

Photo Credit: Brett Morrison via Used under CC 2.0 License

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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