December 6, 2016 9:00 am

Windows 10 Creators Update advances security and best-in-class modern IT tools

By / Director of Program Management, Windows Enterprise and Security

The Windows 10 Creators Update will continue to bring new security capabilities to IT administrators to better protect, defend and respond to threats on their networks and devices.

A few weeks ago, we announced new features coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update bringing innovation in mixed reality and 3D for everyone. We shared our view of empowering the creators in all of us as we build Windows for each of us. This rings just as true for business professionals as it does for artists and students.

We built Windows 10 for modern IT to be safer, more secure and more productive for business with access to powerful new devices and experiences for their employees. In response, our customers are upgrading to Windows 10 at an incredible pace, with a 3X increase in Windows 10 enterprise deployments over the last six months. But we’ve just begun.

Today, I’m excited to share that the Windows 10 Creators Update will deliver new features and capabilities for modern IT and bring even more security advancements to our enterprise customers as IT administrators drive digital transformation to optimize operations, enhance productivity and maintain the most secure environment possible.

Security intelligence across devices, networks and cloud

The cyber threat landscape today requires an ongoing and relentless focus on security. The Creators Update will continue to bring new security capabilities to IT administrators to better protect, defend and respond to threats on their networks and devices.

To start, we will make it easier to monitor, track and act by creating one view of Windows 10 security events in the centralized portal called the Windows Security Center. First released in the Anniversary Update, the Windows Security Center will link to Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, via the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, to allow IT administrators to easily follow an attack across endpoints and email in a seamless and integrated way.

In the Creators Update we’re also adding new actions and insights in Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to investigate and respond to network attacks, including sensors in memory, enriched intelligence and new remediation actions.

  • Enriched Detection. As I’ve said before, methods and means attackers use are increasingly varied, complex and well-funded. The sensors we have today across the network traffic channeled through end points and the cloud are powerful. However, cyber threats won’t stop, and neither will we. With the Creators Update we will expand Windows Defender ATP sensors to detect threats that persist only in memory or kernel level exploits. This will enable IT administrators to monitor loaded drivers and in-memory activities, and to detect various patterns of injection, reflective loading, and in-memory modifications indicating potential kernel exploits.
  • Enriched Intelligence. We already add on to our Microsoft Threat Intelligence (TI) with industry partners like FireEye iSIGHT Threat Intelligence. In the Creators Update, we’ll enable IT administrators to feed their own intelligence into the Windows Security Center for alerts on activities based on their own indicators of compromise. This added level of insight will enrich machine learning models to identify and block malware more quickly and better protect their unique environment.
  • Enhanced Remediation. We will also deliver new remediation actions in Windows Defender ATP that will give IT administrators the tools to isolate machines, collect forensics, kill and clean running processes and quarantine or block files with a single click in the Windows Security Center and further reduce response time.

Best-in-class modern IT to streamline management

It’s an exciting time to be in IT, yet we also understand that for many organizations the digital transformation can be overwhelming. That’s why we built Windows 10 with best-in-class modern IT capabilities through the power of the cloud. Already, IT administrators estimate a 15% improvement in IT management time with Windows 10. The Creators Update will further shift resources and time-intensive tasks to the cloud, allowing our customers to acquire, provision, support and secure devices more easily than ever.

Today, we’re announcing the Creators Update will bring simplified IT with new insights coming in the Windows Analytics dashboard, in-place UEFI conversion, a new mobile application management feature and continued improvements to Windows as a service.

Cloud-based insights with Windows Analytics.

We released Windows Upgrade Analytics to help customers move to Windows 10 more quickly by analyzing their environment to identify app compatibility, device and driver readiness. In the coming months, we’ll be delivering additional resources to the Windows Analytics dashboard that will help IT administrators better manage and support Windows 10 devices. The additions to the dashboard will enable organizations to use their own telemetry to provide new insights and ensure compliance on the upgrade, update and device health processes within their organizations.

In-place UEFI conversion

We’ve heard from our customers that they want to take advantage of new Windows 10 security investments like Device Guard on their existing modern hardware, but many of these new features require UEFI-enabled devices. For those customers who have already provisioned modern Windows PCs that support UEFI but installed Windows 7 using legacy BIOS, converting a device to UEFI required an IT manager to repartition the disc and reconfigure the firmware. This meant they would need to physically touch each device in their enterprise. With the Creators Update, we will introduce a simple conversion tool that automates this previously manual work. This conversion tool can be integrated with management tools such as System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr)* as part of the Windows 7 to Windows 10 in-place upgrade process.

Mobile application management

With the Creators Update we’re introducing mobile application management, a new feature that will protect data on personal devices without requiring the device to be enrolled in a Mobile Device Management solution. As employees use their own devices at work more and more, we are providing IT with oversight to apply policies to the applications employees use to be productive. This helps keep corporate data more secure without taking on the added responsibility of managing employees’ personal devices.

Continued improvements for Windows as a service

Finally, our enterprise customers have told us they want to better manage the size of downloads. Soon we’ll enable differential downloads for both mobile and PC devices. This means updates after the Creators Update will only include the changes that have been made since the last update, decreasing the download size by approximately 35%. We’re also working to improve System Center Configuration Manager express updates to help reduce the monthly update size by up to 90%.

We’re building Windows for each of us and for our enterprise customers that means supporting their digital transformation. Over the next few weeks, some of the Creators Update features will start to show up in Windows Insider builds. If you are not already a Windows Insider, please join us in providing feedback to help shape the final experience and empower the creators in all of us.

Rob

*12/6/16: This blog post was edited to reflect the correct abbreviation for System Center Configuration Manager.

Updated December 15, 2016 2:15 pm