Windows 8 For Business IT
Windows 8 an operating system developed by Microsoft to be used on personal computers was released for general availability on October 26, 2012. Windows 8 introduced many significant changes to the traditional Microsoft OS platform, mainly for the purpose of improving the user’s experience on mobile devices such as tablets and phones.
Windows 8 features a new touch user interface with a new start screen composed of a grid of tiles that dynamically update. Each tile represents a specific application. The new Start screen replaces the old “Start menu” from the earlier versions of Windows. Windows 8 also has a new app platform with an emphasis on users using a touchscreen instead of a keyboard, and also the new Windows Store to download or purchase applications.
Windows 8 enables users to use the following technologies:
- USB 3.0
- 4Kn Advanced Format
- Near Field Communications
- Cloud computing
- ARM architecture
Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) is a processor architecture based on a 32-bit reduced instruction set (RISC) computer. The ARM architecture is a commonly used 32-bit instruction set architecture used in smart phones and tablets.
Windows 8 also includes new security features including built-in antivirus capabilities, a new installation process enabling digital distribution, and support for secure boot. Secure Boot is a UEFI security feature that prevents “unauthorized” operating systems and software such as malware from loading or altering the boot process during start up. Lastly, Windows 8 supports the synchronization of certain apps and settings between multiple devices.
The release of Windows 8 has triggered much criticism and speculation amongst the PC Windows computer and IT worlds. This is not surprising considering the drastic change in the Windows 8 interface and it’s usability from former versions of the operating system. Windows 8 is considered to be one of Microsoft’s most innovative operating systems since the release of Windows 95. Windows 8 advocates maintain that the new operating system will increase user flexibility and productivity while lowering business IT costs at the same time. Critics of Windows 8 say that it does not offer business IT any added benefits and that the new interface can be confusing to users, requiring time for training.
Windows 8 Business IT Friendly Features:
- Secure Boot
- Microsoft Windows 8 uses the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a type of computer security architecture.
- This process makes sure that the OS is accessible, intact and legitimate before booting to it.
By default, the SmartScreen function sends information about every application you download and install on your computer to Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft’s servers will then respond after assessing the application – if the application you’ve downloaded is legitimate and considered “safe” such as Mozilla Firefox or iTunes, Windows 8 will run the application.
If SmartScreen is not familiar with an application, possibly a new form of malware, Windows 8 will prevent the application from running on your computer. It will also prevent known-bad programs from running.
The Windows Store is a central place where Microsoft can verify the value, safety, and authenticity of the software you purchase so that you know you are downloading safe software and not malware.
Internet Explorer 10
According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer 10 helps you to have more control over your privacy and enhances your protection from the latest online threats.
The improved security in Windows 8 makes web browsing, and using browser extensions much safer. Windows 8 also makes downloading and using apps safer as well.
Mobile Device Integration
Windows 8 presents organizations with new opportunities to change how they operate, striving to improve workflows. Windows 8 makes mobile devices in a business enterprise environment more manageable and it can be easily integrated with the other devices. Some companies will redesign the way they work in order to take advantage of these new features in Windows 8.
Ken Hess at Consumerization: BYOD, in an October 25, 2012 article, writes that Windows is headed toward a “single” platform. This means having a single operating system for your computer, your phone and your tablet. A single platform will allow for all of your documents, applications, games, and browser history to be shared and synchronized between all of your devices.
Windows To Go
Other features like Windows To Go appeal to businesses and IT managers. The Windows 8 Enterprise version allows users to boot an imaged version of the OS on any device that meets the minimum hardware requirements.
The new Windows 8 also provides users with integrated online service accessibility from Microsoft and other third party service providers.
The release of the Windows Store radically changed how software is installed on Windows and makes it much more like the way users install apps on mobile devices ie. Smartphones and tablets.