Windows 365 Cloud PCs Now Encrypted at Rest
Microsoft now encrypts new Windows 365 Cloud PCs at rest, starting this month, according to a Friday announcement.
A Cloud PC is Microsoft's name for a virtual machine, hosted on Microsoft's infrastructure, that provides desktop access to remote users. It might be thought that the Windows 365 desktop-as-a-service already had Cloud PC encryption at the host level, but it's apparently a new thing. Microsoft has long touted having encryption at rest and in transit for its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 services, for instance.
The encryption at rest for Windows 365 Cloud PCs is enabled at "no additional cost" to customers, Microsoft indicated. The encryption doesn't entail using a Cloud PC's CPU, and performance isn't affected.
On top of encrypting Cloud PCs, Microsoft also has existing data storage encryption for Cloud PCs. The hosted Cloud PC encryption just adds to its overall security.
Organizations using Windows 365 Cloud PCs have to enable the encryption for new Cloud PCs using controls in the Azure Portal, as described in this Microsoft document. The document is actually an outline for configuring Azure virtual machine encryption.
Cloud PC Troubleshooting
In other Windows 365 Cloud PC news this month, Microsoft explained how end users and IT departments can troubleshoot Cloud PC connection issues in this April 10 announcement.
The announcement was straightforward about the need to perform such troubleshooting, saying that "Cloud PC users may encounter connection failure when they restarted the Cloud PC after Windows update or suddenly lose connection without obvious reason."
IT pros have the option to put a failed Cloud PC under review if the troubleshooting function doesn't resolve the issue. Doing so will "escalate this issue to Microsoft Global Helpdesk."
The announcement suggested that backend infrastructure improvements by Microsoft to address Cloud PC connection issues will eventually make its Cloud PC service "more stable," and it promised to deliver more support tools.
Cloud PC Performance Data
In yet another announcement this month, Microsoft explained why it offers plain vanilla performance descriptions of its Windows 365 Cloud PC offerings, rather than real-world performance data.
Microsoft controls the Windows 365 hosting service that's used with Cloud PCs. Still, there are too many factors that could affect performance. For instance, Microsoft can't account for actual Cloud PC performance because of things like operating system memory paging, network latency, disk controller caching and how memory gets optimized for applications, the announcement argued.
The Hardware that's used for Windows 365 Cloud PCs also "may vary over time as Microsoft updates and upgrades its infrastructure," which is another factor interfering with providing exact performance measurements. If organizations want hardware oversight and control, then Microsoft suggested using its Azure Virtual Desktop services instead.
Because of such factors, Microsoft's Windows 365 Cloud PC performance information is just valuable as a relative guide.
"Rather than focusing on precise numbers that may vary depending on the situation, we provide relative performance charts for different Cloud PC sizes," the announcement explained.
Microsoft mostly aims to ensure that "all Cloud PCs meet expected service level agreements and provide a consistent user experience across different configurations" with its Windows 365 service.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.