Surface for Business: What you need to know

 In End-User Devices, Hardware

The end of 2018 was an exciting time for Microsoft Surface, with new product releases, reclaimed Consumer Reports recommendation status, and the announcement Surface has broken into the top five PC manufacturers in the United States.

With so much interesting Microsoft news to sort through, it might be difficult for the relevant enterprise updates to bubble up to the surface. So here are the top questions we’re getting from customers, along with the answers you need.

What is Surface for Business?

Surface for Business is a new product line for commercial customers that offers the all-around capabilities you expect from a commercial device. All Surface models purchased through the channel (rather than retail) now come standard with Windows 10 Pro, and a few devices offer even more advantages.

For instance, along with the option to use Microsoft 365, the new Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 feature the following benefits:

  1. Windows 10 Pro: Unlike retail models, which run Windows 10 Home, commercial models run Windows 10 Pro. This gives customers the business functionality they expect with more management and security control over devices and streamlined ways to deploy them. Windows 10 Pro allows you to leverage Azure Active Directory Join, giving you access to Windows AutoPilot, Conditional Access, Multifactor Authentication, your own Microsoft Store for Business, and a host of other cloud-enabled features. For customers still on premises, Windows 10 Pro allows you to domain join the device and leverage Group Policy.
  2. Advanced Exchange: Microsoft is now including Advanced Exchange on the standard manufacturer warranty. With Advanced Exchange, Microsoft will ship out a replacement device before you have to send back the compromised device. This accelerates the timeline for receiving replacement devices from 5-8 business days to 3-5 business days. For organizations that require faster replacements, Microsoft’s new add-on extended service offerings include next business day replacements.
  3. A unique chipset on i5 models: The commercial models of the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Laptop 2 boast 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-8350U processors–a higher performance chipset than the Intel® Core™ i5-8250U found in consumer models.

Which new products should I consider for my organization?

With the release of the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Surface Studio 2 in October 2018, Microsoft now offers a device for each role or persona in your organization, whether they are frequent travelers that need to be always connected or engineers that need a sleek device to handle professional-grade graphics performance.

The Surface Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2 now come in a sleek matte black finish and feature the new 8th generation Intel® Quad Core™ processor. Microsoft has also updated their creative all-in-one solution, the Surface Studio 2, the most powerful Surface to date with next-generation Pascal graphics.

The new Surface Go with advanced LTE is now shipping. A light, 10-inch device running full Windows 10 Pro, the Surface Go untethers you from public wifi and your desk allowing you to be productive wherever work takes you.

Additionally, Microsoft introduced new Surface Headphones with 13 levels of noise cancellation you can adjust using the on-ear controls. The headphones are compatible with Microsoft Teams and Skype, so you can seamlessly join and participate in meetings and conference calls from airports and other noisy environments. Simply use the controls to dial up the noise cancellation. The Surface Headphones also support Cortana, so you can ask her to check your schedule or play a favorite artist.

How can SHI assist with simplifying Surface deployments?

With the end of support coming from Windows 7, customers may be looking for a simplified path to Windows 10. By moving to Surface and leveraging SHI’s ZeroTouch for Windows 10 and Windows AutoPilot, a device can be sent directly to an employee and self-configured to your IT department’s company standards. Windows AutoPilot allows SHI to pre-assign Surface devices to your company’s Azure AD tenant, streamlining the out of box experience so the end user just has to enter their corporate credentials. This allows IT departments to go from traditionally imaging devices over the span of six months to seamlessly configuring Surfaces in one month or less, all without physically touching each device or building an image.

Outside of having Surface and AutoPilot experts help you plan secure deployment strategies, SHI has AutoPilot enrollment automated, so devices are enrolled fast and seamlessly.

With its latest commercial releases, Microsoft continues its trend of creating adaptable devices that adjust to the user. If you have any questions about the latest Microsoft Surface products or wish to learn more about how to plan successful and secure Surface deployment strategies, please contact your SHI account executive.

Trevor Ferguson contributed to this post.

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