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Windows 10 Secures and Modernizes Government Technology

20 Oct 2015 by Teresa Meek

Federal, state and local governments have a hard time keeping up with technology. Budget limitations, rules and regulations, and legacy systems make updates slow and difficult. As a result, they often sit out several development cycles before deciding to make a move.

Windows 10 could change that pattern. Its automatic updates keep agency software continually modernized with new features and security upgrades. This means managers no longer have to worry about periodic lengthy data migrations. In addition, the new operating system offers advanced security features and some nifty apps.

Familiar platform

Agencies that skipped Windows 8 don’t have to worry about its lack of a Start button and clumsy touchscreen interface — with Windows 10, the familiar desktop is back, and it can be used for both personal computers and mobile devices. Apps are compatible across devices. 

Security features

Cybersecurity is always a concern for governments. Windows 10 has built-in multifactor authentication through both devices and a second identifier, such as a PIN number or a fingerprint. It even offers an option for facial recognition technology. There’s no need for smartcards. And agencies can use the system to identify and block users they don’t want, as well as allowing those they do.

Windows 10 also has Enterprise Data Protection, which separates corporate data from the personal (because let’s face it — workers don’t). Corporate information is encrypted and kept in a container that follows it to any smartphone or laptop. You can’t jailbreak the data from its protective shell and copy it to a non-secure file.

Hardware-based security includes a Trusted Platform Module (a specialized chip that stores encryption keys) and a Secure Boot to keep malware out. A Device Guard combines hardware and software security features to “lock down” a device so that it runs only applications predetermined by an agency. A Trusted Boot maintains the integrity of the operating system.

Microsoft is working on creating even more advanced security layers to qualify Windows 10 for use by defense and intelligence agencies.

Apps for government workers

The Windows 10 app store includes several programs that can improve mobility and efficiency for government workers.

As everyone knows, Microsoft was very late to the mobile party. But it’s catching up now.

Collaborative software apps have been with us for some time (think Dropbox, Salesforce, Slack, Google Apps and a host of others). But this is Microsoft. They didn’t develop these apps themselves, but they’re allowing them to play in the Windows/Office sandbox, from any device. Both these developments are huge.

Now available through Windows 10 is Software Innovations’ 360 eWorker app, a useful tool for government employees working on cases. The app lets them work anywhere. It allows an authorized worker to view documents and status updates related to a case from any device. They can not only read information, but type comments that anyone else associated with the project can see. They can also create tasks for other workers, download documents and get colleagues’ contact information.

Government agency workers drowning in paperwork may want to take advantage of iBabs Paperless Meeting, which organizes email, automates recurring calendar appointments and updates meeting agendas. It can attach PDF documents to agendas to enable comments — a pretty neat trick for normally inflexible PDFs (the app apparently converts them into and out of PDF format). Plus, the app works on any device.

The Accela Inspector app lets government inspectors do their job on the road, recording inspections and results on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, whether they’re at a meat processing plant, hair salon or a crime scene. It contains all the fillable forms and checklists they need, and they can also attach pictures and notes. Everything gets uploaded to the home agency without a visit.

It’s enough to make you wonder if they need an office at all anymore … but that’s an update for another day. In the meantime, find out how Windows 10 can keep your agency software continually modernized with new features and security upgrades.