Earlier this month, our partner company, Check Point, announced the identification of a new high-volume threat operation taking over target browsers and turning them into zombies. Check Point claims the Chinese malware Fireball has affected up to 250 million computers around the globe, though Microsoft now estimates the figure may be closer to 40 million. Regardless, this browser hijacker may have also impacted up to 20% of corporate networks and therefore is a major concern for employers worldwide.
For more than a year, the intense debate surrounding data access and control has raged on. After the San Bernardino massacre in December 2015, Apple and the FBI feuded about access to data on the iPhone 5C used by one of the attackers. Several other court cases touched on the subject of digital privacy throughout last year, including one we covered in our blog in December 2016 in which the Florida Court of Appeals bucked the trend of siding on behalf of protecting users by ruling that the government can force an iPhone user to release the passcode to unlock his/her phone. This week, privacy proponents have been dealt another blow.
Windows 10 is Microsoft’s first truly mobile operating system designed to work seamlessly across mobile devices and PCs. This mobile-first, cloud-first platform introduces a range of enterprise-ready features across the entire device lifecycle. As a Windows 10 Launch Partner vendor, VMware has been working with Microsoft from the beginning, with AirWatch incorporating EMM management tools for Windows 10 devices since day one of the rollout in July of 2015.
Available on CIO
By Jen A. Miller | July 1, 2015
In May, TechOrchard provided a robust review of Microsoft’s new Surface 3, the smaller, lighter and cheaper version of its Surface Pro 3. Both devices have been popular choices for the enterprise based on their flexible design and go-anywhere capabilities. If you’re considering implementing either of these devices — or any others on the market — in your organization, take a moment to read through this case study for ideas on how to deploy tablets seamlessly.
Whether you’re an avid reader of our From the Orchard blog or simply a tech aficionado, you likely have familiarized yourself with the major players in mobility. We often talk about AirWatch (a VMware product), MobileIron and MaaS360 (IBM’s platform). And when we do, we discuss how enterprise mobility management platforms like these can help companies find one seamless way to manage all of their mobile devices, regardless of type and operating system.
Following the Steve Jobs iPad creation in 2010, the tablet landscape, while crowded by many different vendors and many different ideas, has truly been an outgrowth of one concept: a downsized “computer” that is easy to transport (light and small), has a touch-screen-supported OS and provides an easier-to-use interface than the standard PC or laptop. This was a killer formula that has drawn millions and millions of users to buy these devices.
The Changing Tablet Landscape
Today, that landscape has changed. Tablet sales have leveled off from their tremendous growth rates early in the decade. Now, consumers are seeing that the two- to three-year-old tablets they own are doing exactly what they need them to do, and they see no need to replace them with newer models. In turn, we see businesses with a growing need to support these devices in the workplace as more and more people want to use their own devices at work. Businesses are also seeing the potential that these devices have in making their employees more productive and are looking for ways to leverage tablets cost-effectively.
This “hybrid” form factor is not a new concept. Tablets with a Windows 8+ OS have been around for several years. The primary advantage is that these devices can run ALL Windows-compatible apps while providing a mechanical keyboard of some sort for better productivity. The demand for “2-in-1 hybrid” devices that either combine a convertible laptop-to-tablet format or a detachable keyboard that allows for pure tablet use is growing quickly. Microsoft touted its Surface Pro 3 hybrid as a direct competitor to the MacBook Air. It was and is a high-powered, high-priced, touch-capable hybrid with some unique tools including the Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen.
The Surface Tablet
The history of the Surface tablet line harkens back to the day when Microsoft touted it as an iPad killer when the iPad was the 500-pound gorilla, which it no longer is. Windows 8/RT was Microsoft’s pure tablet OS that required support of a quickly developed app store, which didn’t happen fast enough. Because users couldn’t find the apps they needed AND couldn’t run the full-blown desktop versions of Office and other Windows applications that they were accustomed to, there was little demand and RT was DOA.
As businesses look to leverage their existing Microsoft computing infrastructure, and are gradually discovering the need for dedicated tools for mobile jobs in their organizations, they are buying more and more “hybrid” devices that can act as a tablet when need be, but that can leverage the many full legacy Windows PC-based applications that have been a staple in the workplace.
The Surface 3 began shipping this week. It might be a game changer for Microsoft as the company continues to compete against Android and Apple to control the mobile enterprise space. Here are three reasons why the new Surface 3 may be successful in the workplace:
- Windows 10 (RT…RIP): Finally, Microsoft gave up on its ill-fated tablet OS called RT. Moving away from ARM to an Intel processor and supporting its mainstream Windows OS is a big reason businesses may begin to adopt Surface 3. It opens the door for Surface users to have access to any of the thousands of Windows applications that exist that they didn’t have in RT. At the same time, more app improvements are being made to ensure users can leverage the touch and pen capabilities of these devices.
- Features/Affordability: The Surface 3 starts at $499, which is smack in the middle of the quality tablet market price for a 9-10” screen. It also fits well into the 2-in-1 hybrid pricing group. The Surface screen is actually 10.8” and full 1920×1200 HD, along with the same unique 3:2 aspect ratio of its older sibling, the Surface Pro 3. It comes with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for that price along with a micro-SD expansion slot. Adding the keyboard and pen obviously kicks this price up a notch but also does the same for the competitor devices. More importantly, businesses could consider the Surface 3 as a desktop/laptop replacement, especially for field-based personnel who need the tablet capability first and can do just fine using a keyboard occasionally. No more need to buy/carry both. Below are key specs:
- OS — Windows 8.1, upgradable to Windows 8.1 Pro for $50 (Users will receive the Windows 10 upgrade when available for free)
- Screen — 3:2 aspect, 10.8” with 1920×1280 resolution
- Storage Options — 64GB or 128GB SSD
- RAM — 2GB or 4GB
- Processor — Quad-Core Intel Atom x7 processor, 1.6ghz (2.4ghz burst)
- Kickstand — 3 positions
- Micro — SB charging port
- Surface Pen — Sold separately for $49
- Type Keyboard — Sold separately $129
- Battery Life — Up to 10 hours of video playback
- Software — 1-year MS Office 365 Personal and 1TB OneDrive Storage included
- 4G Data — A cellular option will be available later this summer
- Natural Enterprise Fit:
Microsoft is still the king of the server and desktop OS in the workplace. The ability for IT departments to manage this hybrid as they do the rest of their fleet provides a new option for those needing its versatility as a tablet/laptop hybrid at a new, lower price point. As Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Intune mobility management software matures, the Surface and Surface Pro 3 are positioned well to be viable computing options for various job roles in the enterprise.