Windows 8 is now slated to launch October 26. On that day, vendors will start bundling the operating system in their products, and Microsoft will be offering it at retail for those who want to upgrade their current installation. This time, Microsoft is making a concerted effort to offer versions of Windows 8 that on one hand satisfy mobile customers while appealing to consumers and enterprise users.
As of late, those enterprise users havent been getting much attention in discussions on Windows 8. With Microsofts Surface announced and a version available for folks to try out, it has been consumers that have received the most attention in discussions on Microsofts latest operating system.
Its time to change that. Its about time to dig into why Windows 8 might be a natural choice for enterprise users. From its improved security to its focus on tablets, Windows 8 is, by nearly all measures, a winner for corporate customers.
1. Enhanced security
Microsoft has made unequivocal statements that Windows 8 will be more secure than any version of its operating system its released so far. A key factor behind those confident statements is Windows Defenderwhich, according to many security experts, could go so far toward securing the operating system, that third-party apps might not be nearly as necessary as they are now. Weve heard this before, of course, but if Microsoft can make it happen, Windows 8 will be far more appealing to enterprises.
2. Remember tablets
One of the big complaints from enterprise users has been that Microsoft doesnt support tablets with Windows. Once Windows 8 launches, that wont be the case. Microsoft will offer a tablet-friendly version, called Windows RT, which will run on a host of slates, including the Surface.
3. A new Office is always nice
Microsoft recently announced a new version of Office currently known as Office 2013. The company hasnt said when itll launch the software, but it appears possible that itll come out sometime this fall after Windows 8 hits store shelves. The nice thing about Office 2013 is that its designed to leverage Windows 8s many nice features. In other words, itll be operating system and application combination youll want to use.
4. The design should improve productivity
Although Microsoft has been hit hard by some in the enterprise community for so drastically changing the design of its operating system, it might actually improve productivity. In testing so far, users have found that, while the Windows 8 interface is novel, the design makes it easier to find things and reduces the effort to perform certain tasks. In other words, your employees might be more productive with the software.
Windows 8 Must Retain Confidence of PC OEMs
5. App development can be kept behind the firewall
Along with an application store built into the operating system, Microsoft will allow companies to develop their own applications with a software development kit. The nice thing about that is that if companies want to keep a program in-house and behind its firewall, it can do so. Expect many more proprietary Windows 8 apps to crop up in the coming years.
6. Windows To Go, anyone?
With Windows To Go, Microsoft is allowing enterprise users to take an entire copy of Windows 8, load it onto a USB key, and then use it elsewhere. The bootable Windows 8 Enterprise version is fully manageable. Sounds good, right?
7. BitLocker matters
Its impossible to place too much emphasis on the need for security and encryption in todays increasingly dangerous computing environment. But with Windows 8s BitLocker and BitLocker to Go, companies will be able to go a long way toward enforcing IT security policy compliance, protect data through encryption and keep important information out of the hands of cyber-criminals. BitLocker works much better in Windows 8.
8. Microsoft already learned its lessons
Ever since Vista was released, companies cant help but wonder if Microsoft will make another misstep. But the chances of that seem slimmer than ever. Microsoft learned its lessons from that episode and came back strong with Windows 7. Windows 8 is dramatically different from both Vista and Windows 7. The last thing Microsoft wants to do is relive history, and so far it looks like that isnt going to happen.
9. The company is clear on its business focus
One of the issues with Windows 7s launch was that it wasnt immediately clear that Microsoft had a strong desire to appeal to the enterprise. The company saw that Apple was on its heels, and it appeared to forget about its core market. But that has changed in Windows 8, and Microsoft has said time and again how important the enterprise is. Thats nice to see.
10. Vendors are pushing full-steam ahead
One of the best early warning flags Microsoft and PC buyers have when it comes to Windows 8 support is vendor support. If HP, Dell, and other vendors start losing confidence in the operating system, Microsoft and the rest of the world will hear about it quickly. So far, vendors seem awfully excited about Windows 8. Thats a good thing.