Microsoft recently released a preview for the free Windows 8.1 update. The update is scheduled to be released later this month and “… introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities…” Windows 8 users will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the full update becomes available.
In addition to the Windows 8.1 preview, Microsoft also released a Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview which adds “…premium features designed to address mobility, security, management and virtualization needs of today’s enterprise.” Here’s a look at some of the features that are offered in the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Edition:
- Windows To Go Creator: IT organizations can create a fully manageable corporate Windows 8.1 desktop on a bootable external USB drive. The drive can be used to support Bring Your Own Device scenarios or be given to contingent staff to access the corporate environment without compromising security.
- Start Screen Control: IT departments can now control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT departments can also prevent users from customizing their Start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company.
- DirectAccess: Users can seamlessly access resources inside a corporate network remotely without having to launch a separate VPN. Also, IT administrators can keep remote users’ PCs up-to-date by applying the latest policies and software updates.
- BranchCache: Employees in branch offices no longer need to download content multiple times across their Wide Area Network (WAN) as BranchCache caches files, websites and other content from central servers locally on hosted cache servers or PCs.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Users will enjoy a rich desktop experience and the ability to play 3D graphics, use USB peripherals and use touch-enabled devices across any type of network (LAN or WAN) for VDI scenarios, thanks to enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012.
- AppLocker: IT organizations can create a more secure environment by restricting the files and apps that users or groups can run on a PC, increasing the security of the device and the data it holds.
- Windows Enterprise Side-Loading: Internal Windows apps can be side-loaded on domain-joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
Make sure you’re prepared to upgrade your Windows software to 8.1. Now is a great time for all of the Windows XP users to make the switch, after the Microsoft announcement that XP will be retired in April, 2014. To prepare yourself for the change check out our webinar and contact SBS Group with any additional questions. You can get updates on Twitter, Facebook, and our LinkedIn group.