Announcing Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1: a new managed service to update Windows devices
Published Nov 02 2021 08:07 AM 20K Views

Microsoft is excited to announce a new managed service to help you manage Windows updates— introducing the Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1. With this new monthly subscription service, you can offload the routine tasks of managing your Windows 10 and Windows 11 environment to Microsoft engineers, allowing you and your IT teams to focus on other priorities.

The Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 service complements our existing Microsoft Modern Desktop offering. The existing service for complete IT outsourcing will now be called Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 2.

Watch the on-demand session (OD116) at Microsoft Ignite to learn more.


Current challenges in endpoint management

Remote and hybrid work practices have added to an already heavy IT workload and created new security threats. Ensuring that important tasks like updating operating systems occur without delay is a top priority for our customers.

According to Forrester, over three-quarters of surveyed companies think it's important for employees to have the latest, most up-to-date version of software on their endpoints.1 But worryingly, we also hear that, on average, about five versions of Windows may be running inside an organization.

So why the discrepancy? Customers have shared that, despite their best intentions, Windows updates sometimes fall behind in their busy to-do list. Reasons range from having people with the right knowledge to do it successfully to finding guidance to build a smooth update workflow. However, your users and organization sometimes pay a heavy cost for delayed updates. It could mean that users end up dealing longer with productivity and security issues that may be fixed in new versions.

Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 takes Windows updates off your plate, allowing your limited IT team to focus their time on your strategic objectives.

Update management made easy

Based on extensive feedback from our customers, we designed Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 with two principles:

  1. Unblocking the process of deploying Windows Updates faster.
  2. Helping organizations immediately realize security and productivity benefits from software modernization.

Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 offloads the routine but necessary task of Windows device updates to help you meet compliance goals. Access to the well-honed skills of experienced Microsoft experts who focus on Windows updates addresses the first principle, unblocking the Windows Update process on your behalf. Secondly, the fewer prerequisites in Plan 1 are designed to meet customers who may be early in their cloud journey, enabling more organizations to take advantage of Microsoft Managed Desktop service.

By accelerating update deployment timelines, Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 helps eliminate known vulnerabilities before cybercriminals target your organization. It also means your employees are reaping the productivity benefits of using the latest Windows operating system faster.

Management beyond Windows 10 and Windows 11

So, what differentiates this Microsoft service from other tools? In short, it's the ability to update more than just Windows and to learn from Microsoft's deep expertise:

  • Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 will also manage your Office apps, Microsoft Teams, and Edge browser updates. If you're using Active Directory and Configuration Manager, you can use Plan 1 with hybrid Azure AD join and co-management.
  • We leverage the intelligent insights and learning we bring from running the cloud operations for Microsoft. You'll get direct access to the people that build these Microsoft products and can take advantage of their deep knowledge, automation skills, and experience.

Of course, for many customers, one of the most attractive reasons is that Plan 1 can help accelerate their move to Windows 11 with minimum time, effort, and cost.

It's simple to get started, then leave it to us

As a managed service, Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 is all about making your life easier. We're there to help you at each step. To get started, simply:

  1. Enable Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 for your tenant
  2. Use available Microsoft resources to help meet the prerequisites
  3. Enroll your devices into Microsoft Endpoint Manager

Once your devices are enrolled, our engineers take over. We manage the ring assignment for devices. We look at app usage and other factors to distribute devices between multiple rings, starting with a test ring and moving up to a broad adoption ring. We want to catch any issues early and on the lowest number of devices. We also keep refreshing the ring membership over time to account for new devices.

Microsoft engineers then schedule and deploy updates. The deployments start in a test ring, using analytics that look for issues and only promote the update to the next ring if no issues are detected. We'll also halt and roll back an update and drive fixes to issues as they arise.

Throughout this whole process, Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 provides customers with reports that track the status of a deployment. Please refer to product documentation for the latest information on prerequisites and scope.

Why signing up makes business sense

Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 enables you to focus on other IT priorities, knowing that critical Windows Updates are being taken care of. It means:

  • Higher return on investment on your IT talent, who can spend their time on more strategic projects.
  • Smoother upgrades to Windows 11 by allowing Microsoft experts to perform a more reliable Windows rollout and get faster resolution in case of any issues.
  • Improved regulatory compliance and security for your Windows PCs, raising the reputation for the quality of your IT services.

Ready to get started?

Microsoft Managed Desktop Plan 1 will soon be available in preview. You can contact your Microsoft representative if you're interested in early access to the service. Sign up for the early access using the Plan 1 preview sign-up form. Our product teams will reach out with an update once the service is available.

1 “Endpoint Modernization,” a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft in June 2021


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