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Windows 10 Mobile apps and features to try in the enterprise

The latest version of Microsoft's mobile OS has a slew of business-friendly features. But which Windows 10 Mobile apps and tools are best for the enterprise?

Windows 10 Mobile has cross-device appeal for IT shops that choose to run the OS on desktop PCs and mobile devices alike, and plenty of its apps and features have enterprise appeal.

In the year since Microsoft launched the latest version of the OS -- along with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update in August -- many companies are continuing to make the switch and take Windows 10 mobile apps for a spin.

Windows traditionalists using Windows 10 Mobile will welcome the return of the start menu to the lower left corner of the home screen, which resembles the start menu for desktop PCs. Enterprise users will appreciate the DirectAccess feature, which allows remote access to apps and files on the network when connected in a seamless, bi-directional manner.

Admins can use AppLocker, a mobile application management (MAM) feature, to restrict apps based on policies. Admins can set AppLocker policies through a virtualized instance of Windows. Microsoft Application Virtualization is another feature admins can use to manage virtualization and streaming.

What may help Microsoft gain some enterprise traction with Windows 10 Mobile is the recent launch of new Surface tablets, laptops and creative devices.

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps are defining pieces of Windows 10 Mobile because they run on smartphones, tablets, desktops and even Hololens and Xbox. Besides Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, there are not too many apps on UWP that are available in the Windows Store for Business today. Around 50% of enterprises are still running Windows 7, and UWP does not work on Windows 7. Furthermore, many companies today that are running Windows 10 do not allow access to the Windows Store.

Popular enterprise Windows 10 Mobile apps available in the Windows Store for Business include:

  • OneNote
  • Evernote
  • Box
  • Wunderlist
  • Eclipse Manager
  • Skype
  • Sway
  • Bamboo
  • GoToMeeting

For social collaboration, there is the just-announced Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams. True, there are not that many apps in the Windows Store for Business today, but the apps that are there are among the most popular enterprise mobile apps around. The Windows Store for Business acts like most MAM app stores, allowing enterprises to manage licenses, assign apps, control updates and distribute offline licensed apps.

Pop quiz: What do you know about Windows 10?

Microsoft has previewed several new mobility features in Windows 10, from a universal OS to better interactions on 2-in-1 devices. See if you've been paying close attention with this quiz.

The question for most companies considering implementing Windows 10 Mobile apps likely revolves around costs. The whole business world might be moving to mobile and cloud-only, but, for many IT executives, the matter still boils down to a cost benefit analysis on whether they should rewrite apps or move to Windows 10 Mobile. Many IT execs are looking to have their old, still-in-use applications migrated to the latest OS, but that's not always possible.

What may help Microsoft gain some enterprise traction with Windows 10 Mobile is the recent launch of new Surface tablets, laptops and creative devices that perform best using the OS. Boosting mobile security offerings should also increase the operating system's enterprise appeal. At the latest Microsoft Ignite conference, CEO Satya Nadella laid out plans for important security updates.

Windows Defender Application guard uses sandboxing or containers to remove malicious code across the corporate network through the Edge browser. Microsoft has also extended Office 365 Advanced Threat protection to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Other new security features include Dynamic Delivery, which allows users to read an email's contents while scanning attachments for malicious code, and URL detonation, which scans links in real time.

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