The world has changed dramatically in recent months. Due to the global health crisis, many people are working remotely for the first time. Organizations of all sizes have had to quickly shift focus and support users who need to stay connected from new locations and devices. In many cases, that means quickly giving users remote access to their corporate desktops and important applications, so they can be productive immediately and are not waiting to acquire new hardware or redirect internal capacity.
Many of you have turned to Windows Virtual Desktop, built on Azure, to quickly provision and scale virtual desktops and applications faster than previously possible. We have been honored by the number of you who have used Windows Virtual Desktop to meet the needs of your increasingly distributed and remote workforce. Alex McLeod, ICT Service Delivery Manager, Whanganui District Board of Health, a New Zealand-based healthcare organization, explains how Windows Virtual Desktop has helped his team:
“Due to the crisis , we had to find a way to support a quick move away from & # 39; business as always & # 39 ;. Windows Virtual Desktop helps us manage a variety of stress-free workflows and enables us to deliver familiar applications to our users in a cost-effective and transparent manner. ”
Bill Wyatt, CIO of the Georgia State Treasurer's Office, shares how Windows Virtual Desktop enhances his agency experience:
“Traditional remote access services are no longer sufficient for our workforce, with a high user demand and availability requirements. Fortunately, we implemented Windows Virtual Desktop, and it has proven invaluable at a time when local infrastructure, VPNs, and other technology services have their reliability in question and may have a higher risk of being unavailable, a risk we cannot afford. "  In response to this growing demand and your ongoing feedback, today we announce the release of several new Windows virtual desktop capabilities, including improved deployment and administration tools, security and compliance enhancements, an improved Microsoft user experience Teams and expanded support for cross-platform operating systems.
Simple deployment and administration with Azure Portal
To make deployment even faster, Windows Virtual Desktop now has a new management experience built directly into Azure Portal. this graphical interface to perform t Key areas more quickly and efficiently, such as deploying and managing virtual desktops and applications, assigning users, and performing integrated monitoring and diagnostics.
Enhanced security and compliance
Security and compliance are Microsoft's top priorities, and we know that maintaining stringent security policies while providing users with a personalized experience is crucial to you. To support your efforts, Windows Virtual Desktop provides reverse connection technology and FSLogix profile containers. Reverse connection significantly reduces attack surface area by allowing you to run a virtual machine (VM) without keeping inbound ports open. Profile containers provide a simple and robust solution to quickly manage virtual profiles in non-persistent environments while keeping them protected through your organization's security settings.
To further enhance the user experience while maintaining security, we recommend connecting Internet output directly from Azure through Azure Firewall and limiting outgoing connections. To simplify the deployment of an Azure firewall along with the Windows virtual desktop, we have published an implementation guide with a new WindowsVirtualDesktop service tag, which allows Internet access to the required platform from the Azure virtual machines that you create for the Windows virtual desktop.
There are several other security enhancements that are released today, including:
- Ability to add user groups to Windows Virtual Desktop using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) groups.
- Support for static or dynamic conditional access policies.
- Support for mandatory multiple factor authentication (MFA).
- Integration of Windows Virtual Desktop with Azure role-based access control (RBAC) and analysis for greater administrative control over user permissions.
- Ability to choose the geography in which you want to store your metadata service for the best possible compliance and regulatory performance.
Microsoft Teams experience to follow soon  Many of us have increasingly relied on Microsoft teams as the primary way to collaborate with colleagues. In the next month, we'll improve the remote meeting and collaboration experience when using Microsoft Teams from Windows Virtual Desktop deployments with a process called audio / video redirection (AV redirection). This will significantly reduce latency in Microsoft Teams conversations with a lot of data running on a VM. As users connect, their remote client devices will initiate a direct connection to the call using Real Time Communication (PSTN) protocols.
Support for cross-platform operating systems
The Windows Virtual Desktop client is now available on Windows, Android, Mac, iOS and HTML5. In addition to these platforms, we are releasing a new Windows Virtual Desktop Software Development Kit (SDK) to our development partners to support the creation of Linux-based thin clients.
How do I start?
The new Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities are now available in public preview, with the exception of Microsoft Teams updates, which will be in public preview in a few weeks.
You or your organization can already access Windows Virtual Desktop through an eligible Windows or Microsoft 365 license. We will continue to develop features that support your cloud computing scenarios and meet your computing requirements.
For more information or to start using Windows Virtual Desktop, visit aka.ms/wvd and connect with technical experts in the Windows Virtual Desktop Technology Community.