Windows 8.1: Microsoft Bakes In BYOD Security
More than a nip and tuck, the update's new security features enable admins to safeguard data on Windows devices, whether or not they’re corporate-owned.The Start button's reappearance and boot-to-desktop options aren't the only features in Windows 8.1 that Microsoft is using to lure in business users. On the heels of the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas and the July 30 release of the business-friendly Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview, Microsoft is touting some of the security-enhancing software components that the company is baking into the upcoming Windows 8.1 update. Now, the Redmond, Wash.-based software behemoth is turning its attention to Windows security. Microsoft is tightening the operating system's defenses to help enterprises cope with the challenges of an ever-changing security landscape and keeping data safe in the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) era. According to Dustin Ingalls, group program manager for Windows Security and Identity, Windows 8.1 will offer administrators new protections that reach beyond corporate firewalls and address the sometimes-risky practice of accessing business data on personal devices. "The Windows 8.1 update offers a full spectrum of new and improved security capabilities—from features that enable devices to be fully locked down by IT, to remote security options for BYOD devices, to safeguards for personal devices that need to access business resources from home," wrote Ingalls in an Aug. 2, Windows for Your Business blog post.
Among those capabilities are mechanisms that "take away the guesswork" from the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). Microsoft is leveraging TPM 2.0 chip-based security to provide advanced encryption features, including "key attestation, which allows you to ensure your private key is safely bound to hardware instead of malware, and virtual smart card management WinRT APIs to enable Windows Store apps to set up and manage virtual smart cards," Ingalls wrote.