Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update Targets Enterprise Mobility, Security
Windows 8.1 Update is more than a user-friendly makeover. Microsoft is signaling to businesses that update has many features to support enterprise mobile applications and bolster security.Included with the many mobile-centric features announced for Windows 8.1 Update and Windows Phone 8.1 during Microsoft's Build conference in San Francisco were a number of enhancements that allow organizations to balance mobile work styles with enterprise-grade user management. In a session headed by Erwin Visser, general manager of Windows and Windows Phone, the company showed off how Windows 8.1 makes it possible for businesses to embrace mobility without compromising the security of corporate data. Microsoft says it's achieving this by expanding support for mobile device management (MDM) suites in Windows 8.1. These suites, from Microsoft and from partners such as AirWatch, allow administrators to blacklist or whitelist apps, enable URL filtering and configure the new Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). This new feature was inspired by enterprise customers whose apps haven't kept up with the times, said Visser. "A lot of customers have internal IE8 web apps," he said. Microsoft's solution is a new compatibility mode that is configured by administrators that renders sites properly in the new browser and preserves their functionality. A blue icon resembling office buildings appears alongside the address bar when Enterprise Mode is active, denoting that IE11 is running an older app.
In more welcome news for businesses that have widely deployed Windows 8.1's predecessors, Visser said that "Enterprise Mode for IE 11 will be supported in Windows 7 as well as Windows 8." Additionally, Enterprise Mode in IE11 will "accelerate their migration to Windows 8.1" for organizations that are on the fence about adopting the OS over fears that their Web apps will be incompatible.