Tablet purchases are exploding and their popularity is impacting how enterprise IT works and makes decisions. A recent Forrester study found that 44 percent of executives, 30 percent of salespeople and 24 percent of global information workers report using tablets for work. It’s no longer a matter of if your enterprise should invest in tablets, but when.
But enterprise IT departments have to choose between an increasingly broad range of operating systems. To select the right one, they have to base this decision on the unique and complex needs of their business.
Windows 8, speculated to launch just six months from now, is another rising force in this market. Its strong focus on the tablet environment means that enterprises with tablet fleets should give Windows 8 earnest consideration. To help you make the best call for your organization, here are seven ways Windows 8 differentiates itself from the competition:
- Windows Intune is a cloud-based management tool for administering IT support, deploying updates and strengthening security. It offers IT administrators in particular the ability to roll out critical updates to tablet users, no matter where they are.
- The Same OS Across Every Device is an experience Microsoft hopes will really distinguish Windows 8. Whereas Apple’s iOs and OS X are very different—both in appearance and function—Windows 8 will look and operate the same whether it’s on a smartphone, tablet or stationary desktop. This consistency means users won’t have to adjust their computing styles when switching between devices.
- Windows 7 Compatibility is another prominent feature of Microsoft’s upcoming OS. The enterprise apps and utilities you currently run on Windows 7 will also run on Windows 8—unless your Windows 8 OS is the ARM-based version. We’ll write more next month about the differences between Intel-based and ARM-based Windows 8, but if your business selects a version running on Intel, it will support most Windows 7 legacy applications.
- Windows To Go enables you to boot and fully manage your Windows 8 corporate image from an external USB drive. It’s marketed to enterprises with consultants, partners and contractors that need limited access to the company’s desktop environment without granting full server privileges and compromising security. Mobile devices like tablets, which may not have disc drives, will still be able to access these images quickly and securely.
- Secure Boot, a security process that prevents malware infection during startup, is designed to protect devices before the OS’s built-in safeguards take effect. Secure Boot works to ensure that every component has the right security certificates before it launches, so your mobile workers—who use their tablets in less secure locations, like airports, Wi-Fi cafes and libraries, and may already be exposed—will have additional protection against security threats.
- AppLocker gives IT administrators the ability to restrict files and apps to the users who are approved to run them. At large enterprises, users can be categorized into groups—like specific PR or sales teams—for easier and more efficient app management. As tablet computing is centered on apps, AppLocker aims to bring more IT control to organizations with these mobile devices.
If you currently support a tablet workforce, we’d love to hear your experiences. What are your challenges? What do you look for most in a tablet OS? Leave your thoughts in a comment!
This buyer's guide is designed to help decision-makers understand the features and functions that a new breed of business-oriented tablets is bringing to the mobile workforce. Use this guide to determine what features are most important for your organization, so you can balance end-user needs with IT requirements for successful mobility deployment.