The general release of Microsoft's next major operating system, Windows 11, is almost upon us with the company flighting the first Insider Preview build yesterday. It comes with a bunch of new features as well as known issues. In this vein, Microsoft has penned a blog post to urge organizations to prepare for their transition to Windows 11, as expected.
Microsoft executive Steve Dispensa says that apart from the features that Windows 11 offers, the operating system sports new capabilities for IT teams too. The firm is calling it the "most secure Windows ever", in line with how it previously said that security is at the forefront with Windows 11, from the chip to the cloud. The update packs over 1,000 new management controls so IT departments can shift away from legacy mechanisms such as Group Policy.
Microsoft understands that every organization will transition to Windows 11 at their own pace, but the company has assured that all investments in Windows 10 will carry forward to the new OS because it builds upon the same code base and capabilities. That said, it has recommended that organizations already start preparing for this eventual transition.
IT admins can enroll in the Windows Insider Program for Business and test Windows 11 builds in VMs or on individual machines across their organization to get feedback which can also be submitted to Microsoft.
The second thing to do would be to validate hardware and software readiness. For the former, Microsoft says that you should check the system requirements for Windows 11, which will be integrated into other solutions like Endpoint Analytics and Update Compliance soon. On the software readiness side of the fence, the Redmond tech giant has urged organizations to make use of App Assure in order to evaluate app compatibility. Via App Assure, Microsoft actually works with your organization to fix compatibility issues. It's part of Microsoft's FastTrack program, so Microsoft 365 customers can get it with no extra cost.
Next up is creating a Windows 11 deployment plan. This includes defining early adopters in your organization, evaluating your infrastructure and tooling such as security baselines, optimizing your servicing strategy to cater to Windows 10 and Windows 11 updates, preparing your help desk, and setting user expectations.
Lastly, Microsoft recommends that your organization utilize cloud-based endpoint management tools such as Windows Autopilot, Microsoft Intune, Cloud Configuration, and Endpoint analytics. When downloading and deploying Windows 11 across your company, it is recommended that you take advantage of the cloud-based Delivery Optimization cache to conserve bandwidth when distributing the update.
Microsoft has highlighted that all these steps will allow you to seamlessly transition to Windows 11. In principle, the planning phase remains the same, but you'll be able to make use of Microsoft's enhanced tooling such as cloud-based endpoint management configuration and App Assure which will allow you to make data-driven decisions when strategically moving to Windows 11.