Microsoft execs are fond of the term "people-centric IT" -- it's their way of saying that workers are using whatever devices they want to, and are using them at home, on the train, in a hotel, on the beach, while skiing.... You get the idea. But IT needs a way to at least make sure this explosion of user choice does not put corporate data at risk.
Four of the features in Windows Server 2012 R2 are meant to bridge the gap between yesterday's world, where users have a corporate-issued laptop and a BlackBerry, and today's new BYOD environment, where users bring their own phones to work, use their personal tablets, work from a variety of locations and generally have a varied approach to how they engage with computer resources.
The new workplace join feature
Up until now, a Microsoft machine -- laptop, desktop, server, tablet or anything else -- was either a member of a domain and therefore able to be managed by the enterprise tools available inside the Windows Server ecosystem, or was a member of a workgroup and thus did not participate in the security profile of another group of computers. Home machines were typically in workgroups and corporate machines were usually members of a domain.