Scheduled to arrive sometime early next year, Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update will do more than introduce new 3D-imaging and mixed-reality tools for artists -- it will also provide business users with a variety of new security and productivity features.
Rob Lefferts, Microsoft's director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security, highlighted some of the business-focused updates on the way in a blog post yesterday.
Among the new capabilities set to arrive with the next big Windows 10 update are improved tracking of security issues, more forensics and remediation tools and cloud-based enhancements designed to simplify and save time on IT management. Business users will also be able to reduce the size of Windows updates through new differential download capabilities.
Improved Detection, Responses to Network Threats
Not long after Microsoft rolled out the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August, the company announced that the next major version of its operating system would bring a variety of new creativity-focused tools for 3D imaging, painting and other artistic applications. Along with the so-called Creators Update arriving in 2017, Microsoft also plans to launch several new devices to support design tasks, including the Surface Studio desktop screen and the Surface Dial accessory for color and design tool management.
Beyond the goal of "empowering the creators in all of us," Microsoft also aims to boost capabilities for business users with the coming Creators Update, Lefferts said yesterday.
"The cyber threat landscape today requires an ongoing and relentless focus on security," Lefferts said. "The Creators Update will continue to bring new security capabilities to IT administrators to better protect, defend and respond to threats on their networks and devices."
For example, improvements to the Windows Security Center, a centralized portal for security management that first launched with the Anniversary Update, will "make it easier to monitor, track and act by creating one view of Windows 10 security events," Lefferts said.
He added that new sensors, intelligence capabilities and remediation actions will also improve the ability of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to investigate and respond to network attacks.
"With the Creators Update we will expand Windows Defender ATP sensors to detect threats that persist only in memory or kernel level exploits," Lefferts noted. "This will enable IT administrators to monitor loaded drivers and in-memory activities, and to detect various patterns of injection, reflective loading, and in-memory modifications indicating potential kernel exploits."
Streamlined Downloads on the Way
Other new security capabilities arriving with the Creators Update will enable IT administrators to specify Windows Security Center alerts for "activities based on their own indicators of compromise," Lefferts said. Administrators will also get new tools for isolating machines, conducting forensics investigations and quarantining or blocking files with a single click.
Lefferts added that new cloud-based capabilities will help speed up IT management by making it easier to provision, support and secure devices.
"[T]he Creators Update will bring simplified IT with new insights coming in the Windows Analytics dashboard, in-place UEFI conversion, a new mobile application management feature and continued improvements to Windows as a service," he said. Changes to the Windows Analytics dashboard will also allow users to "use their own telemetry to provide new insights and ensure compliance on the upgrade, update and device health processes within their organizations."
Also coming with the Creators Update is a mobile application management feature for protecting data on personal devices used for business as well as streamlined updates that allow users to download only the parts of Windows software that were changed since the previous version.
Those more efficient downloads are being enabled by something Microsoft calls UUP, or "Unified Update Platform." Insiders will soon start seeing new PC builds arriving through UUP, which first began rolling out for Mobile builds last month, Windows and Devices Group software engineer Dona Sarkar said Friday.