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Why it’s time to take a second look at Surface Pro

In 2013, Microsoft pioneered the 2-in-1 form with the release of Surface Pro. Ever since, they’ve been working to better support the modern workplace by integrating innovative hardware, software and productivity within every Surface device.

That said, Microsoft’s early Surface ambitions – like many first-generation devices – didn’t always win people over. However, thanks to a number of recent improvements, it’s time to take another look. After all, there’s a reason Surface Pro is now the most loved 2-in-1 on the market1.

The Surface Pro – then and now

Battery

Older generation devices

Some users reported that early generation Surface Books and Pros were being damaged by swollen batteries, leading to either discolouration, protruding glass, or a bulge at the back of the display.

New generation devices

Not only has this issue been resolved, Microsoft have also vastly improved battery life and charging. For example, the new Surface Pro X boasts 13 hours of battery life while the Surface Pro 7 can last 10.5 hours. As a comparison, Apple’s iPad Pro comes in at 10 hours. You can also re-charge your Surface Pro back to 80% battery in less than an hour.

Connectivity

Older generation devices

When it came to USB-C, Microsoft dragged their feet; instead preferring their proprietary adaptor. At the time, customers using third party docking solutions and other peripherals had limited options, which was particularly problematic for hot deskers with minimal peripherals.

New generation devices

Today, with both USB-A and USB-C ports and a headphone jack, the Surface Pro 7 is quite possibly the most natively connectable slimline device on the market. That’s right – no more adapters!
Surface Pro 7

Customer support

Previous support model

In the past, Microsoft offered an Extended Service Hardware Warranty and Complete for Business. These support models offered warranty from 2-4 years. Complete for Business offered advanced device exchange, which meant that it would take a couple of days to have an accidentally damaged device replaced.

New support model

In 2018, Microsoft released Complete for Business Plus. Covering all Surface devices except Hub, Complete for Business Plus entitles customers in metro locations to a four-year extended warranty and next day device replacement2.

 

Management and deployment

The traditional approach

The deployment and management of Surface devices has traditionally required IT to use a combination of on-premises System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) and the Windows Server Active Directory (AD). It might have been a fairly straightforward process, but it took time and caused frustrating delays, as IT had to configure each device with applications, profiles and security settings relevant to the user.

Modern Surface deployment

Microsoft’s zero-touch deployment model is the cornerstone of modern device management. Leveraging features built into Windows 10, along with a number of cloud-based services, the deployment of a Surface fleet is now significantly simplified. This simplification means that users can have a brand new devices up and running in mere minutes.

This is made possible by Windows Autopilot, a tool residing in Windows 10 that enables the set up and pre-configuration of Surface devices unique to every user. Because Surface devices ship with Windows 10, Windows Autopilot, and Office Professional Plus preinstalled, end users can get to work faster than ever before.

In short, today’s Surface devices have been purpose-built for intuitive management and deployment, ensuring IT and end users enjoy a far more straightforward, friction-free deployment experience.

 

Security

Past security perception

We’ve written before about Microsoft’s unfair past perception as an outcast in the security world. Whether you shared that perspective or not, it is safe to say that it’s certainly been disproven by the modern Microsoft suite.

Microsoft security today

Security sets the Surface family apart. Every layer is built and maintained by Microsoft to give you control, proactive protection, and peace of mind from the chip to the cloud.

Let’s break this down:

Secured firmware with UEFI

Most UEFIs or BIOs for Windows 10 devices are outsourced to companies such as American Megatrends. The Surface UEFI is unique to Surface and is built and maintained in-house, making the devices less susceptible to security vulnerabilities.

Hardware-based security

A Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip is embedded into each Surface device to provide hardware-based security. The chip protects any important passwords or encryption keys and is also able to scan the BIOS/UEFI during start-up for unauthorised changes. If anything suspicious is detected, your device will enact quarantine mode to correct any problems.

Built-in antivirus and antimalware software

Windows 10 Defender Anti-Virus Device Guard is an inbuilt security agent, so there’s no need for security to be bolted on. And because Microsoft use Windows 10 telemetry data for their devices globally, they’re able to leverage these insights to identify new and evolving security vulnerabilities and malware.

Biometrics-based security

With Windows Hello, Windows 10 users have the option to log into Surface devices and applications using facial recognition or fingerprint matching. Windows Hello for Business takes it a step further, with two-factor authentication.

Automatic Surface firmware updates

Finally, Windows Update for Business can be used to automatically apply firmware updates to devices as they become available. Again, Windows 10 telemetry data can help identify new types of security vulnerabilities and malware, and as more devices are deployed, identification will only get better.

Ready to take a closer look?

As Microsoft’s largest Australian partner, Data#3 delivers unparalleled end-to-end support, maintenance and training for all your Surface fleet requirements. To learn more about any device in the Surface family, or to get hands-on a Surface Pro 7 demo device, reach out to us today.


1. Milanesi, Carolina (2018). Microsoft Commissioned Creative Strategies study “Microsoft’s Surface Brand Share Grows”
2. Full terms and conditions available at https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/4535296/microsoft-complete-for-business-plus-terms-and-conditions

Tags: Deployment Services, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Surface Pro, Microsoft Windows Autopilot, Mobility, Modern Desktop Management, Modern Workplace

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