State of Microsoft Technologies – The Good, The Bad, and the Scuffed

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As we all know Microsoft has a long and sometimes troubled history when it comes to perception and products within the enterprise IT space. We have gone through the beloved OS of XP and 7 to the train wrecks of Vista and 8. All of which have had their unique issues, configurations, and downright confusing direction of some of their products that have been released.

The Bad

First, lets get the bad out of the way. Microsoft is still a multi-billion dollar company that answers more to global demand rather than the concerns of those in the field. Common features and bugs within their products that are massive on your personal radar, are just minor annoyances at the scale they operate. Microsoft support can still be hit and miss and unlike a partner, such as EITS, have no knowledge of how the environment works and what is required to keep the business running. The final thing that I am sure everyone loves is the fact that Microsoft thinks all systems should have candy crush pre-installed to make a nice user experience. Although these changes seem bad, what as occurred on the backend leads us to the next section

The Good

Since Windows 7, Microsoft has started to shift the default configuration of their operating systems to a secure, but still workable system. Following a baseline such as CIS or STIG in the XP days required thousands of settings just for the OS to ensure that it was secure. Nowadays, a retail Windows 10 device will meet about 70-75% of those benchmarks before any configuration is done to the endpoint. Although most might not see the benefit, Windows 11 requiring TPM and Secure Boot ensures that devices globally come up to a more secure standard with more out-of-the-box security.
The next thing that has changed for the better is the more open attitude Microsoft has to outside integrations. Previously (in the Ballmer days) Microsoft was very “first party or die” attitude where their products didn’t integrate well and therefore were only challenged to compete with themselves. This caused the IT community to learn stacks of different tools that overlapped but had unique strengths to manage their systems. The current attitude is Microsoft provides functionality like API’s to enable integrators like Ironscales to bolster the MS technologies rather than bolt onto. This attitude has also caused Microsoft technologies to be competitive and even set the bar in most cases for security and compliance technologies. Unfortunately, this change doesn’t come along without good ideas, that aren’t quite working the best.

The Scuffed

This brings us to the scuffed, or the good but not great side of Microsoft at the moment. One of the biggest issues now is the rapid pace of patch and feature deployments. Most organizations were used to the 4-5 year cycle of a single OS with just security patches until a new OS comes out around the same time the org needed new hardware. Now with Windows 10 and later, the feature updates every year on top of security patches has caused a lot of organizations to fall behind or now stuck in the past. Although change can be good, many organizations still have not found a way to deal with this change even though there are no signs of Microsoft changing this policy.
The other issue is the rate at which Microsoft creates changes name of, or even gets rid of their products nowadays in their cloud ecosystem. Most may not know, but I get daily emails of feature changes or updates to their products as well as anything that may be sunsetting. Keeping on top of these changes as well as running your organization as an admin can be overwhelming and where an expert consultant such as EITS can help.
The last thing that we can all complain about is the Office 365 licensing. We all know this is one area that I doubt will or even can be improved with the number of products currently in the ecosystem. Maximizing the use of these licenses and comparing the Microsoft stack against other products can be a daunting and even overwhelming task. This is where EITS can come in a help with navigating the 365 ecosystem and maximizing your investments.

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