Microsoft Debuts New Features (and Ways to Save) on Windows Virtual Desktop
Microsoft kicked off 2021 with a master class session on a topic that has grown near and dear to many IT pros’ hearts over the last twelve months or so: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). Primarily a chance for admins to learn how to better deploy and manage virtual desktops and apps directly from Microsoft’s experts, the session also featured a look at the road ahead for WVD. Among the highlights? Greater security, reduced management overhead and an interesting opportunity for new users.
Organizations have leaned heavily on WVD to keep teams connected and productive, particularly during the pandemic. As workplaces continue to evolve this year and beyond, it seems so too will WVD’s capabilities and its role in the modern enterprise. We checked in with our team of cloud and workspace experts to get a better understanding of what’s here and what’s coming next for WVD.
Here & Now: WVD + Defender for Endpoint
Let’s start with what’s available now. In a separate post, we discussed Microsoft’s decision to unify its security portfolio under the Defender brand. Well, as of this January, Defender has come to WVD. Those leveraging Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session will be able to take advantage of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint support for up to 50 concurrent connections. Single sessions are also supported.
As a result of this integration, multiple new options will appear in Microsoft Defender Security Center, including the following:
- Within the Device Inventory page, admins will now be able to see all of the machines connecting through WVD using the new “Windows 10 WVD” filter in the OS Platform column.
- The Device page has also been updated to reflect the new WVD compatibility. Both the “Device Details” and the “OS” sections can now be used to identify WVD-connected machines. Additionally, admins will be able to use this page to monitor the number and identities of users who logged into a device over the past 30 days.
- Admins will now be able to monitor WVD activity using the Machine Timeline menu. This screen will collect activity from all users logged into a WVD device. Those familiar with Defender and Machine Timeline will find that it functions much the same way for WVD as it does for other solutions, including allowing admins to drill deeper into specific users or user sessions should something raise a red flag.
- Finally, Defender’s advanced hunting capabilities have also been expanded to cover WVD devices. Using advanced hunting, admins can do things like dig more deeply into sessions or network events for all WVD-connected users or they can explore activity emanating from specific profiles over a set period of time.
The road ahead for WVD
Let’s move on to what comes next. A number of new features previously announced at last year’s Microsoft Ignite conference have entered into public preview, such as:
- Azure Monitor for Windows Virtual Desktop – Gain access to a centralized, single pane of glass view of the comings and goings within a virtual environment to speed up maintenance and incident remediation.
- MSIX App Attach – Tired of relying on PowerShell scripts to connect MSIX-formatted apps to an individual user session? This new feature enables this connection dynamically, without the need for PowerShell.
- Screen Capture Protection – Take greater control of data no matter where it resides by disabling screen capture for remote apps and desktops housed on WVD.
- RDP Short Path – Gauges network types to allow session connections to take place via direct peer-to-peer UDP instead of over internal WVD gateways where appropriate to enhance security and performance.
Next Steps: Cutting costs to open the door to new WVD use cases
Does this recent run of updates have you considering WVD for your organization? In addition to the new features, there’s another reason the time is right to make a change. Right now, Microsoft is offering new WVD customers 30% savings on compute costs for select virtual machines for up to 90 days. Time is of the essence as this promotion expires on March 31.
Want to learn more about WVD or take advantage of this limited time offer from Microsoft? Arraya can help. Our team can help you audit your goals and challenges to determine if WVD makes sense for you. If it does, we can also help you spin up and manage it. Reach out to us today to start a dialogue!
Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to connect with our team now.
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