US Department of Defense Moving to Windows 10; Approves Surface Devices for use

US Department of Defense Moving to Windows 10; Approves Surface Devices for use

The last official count for Windows 10, shared by Microsoft back in early January, showed that the 6 month old OS had over 200 million active users per month at that time.

Although we do not have any updated momentum numbers since then, there is no reason to believe the tally is not continuing its slow and steady climb to one billion devices in the next 2-3 years.

Microsoft has been boasting about the quick adoption rate from its Enterprise/Education customers and the fact that over 76% of them are actively testing Windows 10 in their organizations as they prepare to make the move to Windows 10.

Big customers can always help with momentum and the largest employer in the world, the United States Department of Defense, is making their plans to deploy Windows 10 throughout their organization.

In a blog post over on the Windows Experience Blog, Yusuf Mehdi Corporate VP of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, revealed that the Secretary of Defense has directed all U.S. DoD agencies to begin the rapid deployment of the Microsoft Windows 10 throughout their respective organizations for information systems currently utilizing Microsoft Operating Systems.

The goal for this roll out is to have it completed in just one year.

Let me say that this is a significant move on DoD's part because, based on my experience working in the Navy for 30 years and specifically as an Information Systems Technician/Specialist for the majority of that time, nothing moves that fast when it comes to computer system upgrades.

For a frame of reference, when I retired from the Navy in the fall of 2011, my main desktop computer was still running Windows 2000 Professional which was no longer covered under Microsoft's standard 10 years of support which had expired in July 2010. It was being provided updates as part of a Microsoft Premier Support program because the DoD and Navy never upgraded operating systems quickly.

Remember last summer when the Navy had to contract with Microsoft for over $9.1 million to cover its Windows XP machines along with Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Server 2003 after their normal 10 year support cycle ended in July 2015? That contracted support expires in July 2016 but has a provision to be extended out to July 2017 if necessary.

In most of the cases it was compatibility that drove the need to keep Windows XP around a little longer but forking out $9 million dollars annually to maintain these aging systems just for the Navy is a serious budgetary concern for the DoD.

That is why making this decision to move to Windows 10 within the next year makes a lot of sense - dollars and cents that is.

One the same day this news is shared by Microsoft, we have also learned from the Microsoft Devices Team that the Surface line of products including Surface 3, Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book have all been approved as Multifunction Mobile Devices (MMDs) for the Department of Defense.

This means that Surface has met the strict security and interoperability requirements consistent with the DISA Field Security Office (FSO) Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG).

This approval likely means that DoD will not only upgrade existing systems to Windows 10 but now has the ability to replace aging hardware with Surface devices that are already running and optimized for Windows 10.

Every little bit counts towards that goal of one billion devices in 2-3 years and having such a significant organization like DoD make this move could be the catalyst for others to do the same.

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