Windows 8.1 Enterprise Offers Powerful Tools for Security, BYOD

By Wayne Rash  |  Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: The new preview version of Windows 8.1 appears to be delivering the most enterprise-ready version of Windows yet.

Other features that appear in Windows 8.1 Enterprise include Open MDM, which does away with the need for a separate client for mobile device management to run the most common MDM software. IT departments supporting BYOD will also get Remote Business Data Removal, which is a means of clearing a mobile computer of corporate information without disturbing personal information. This makes it vastly easier for the IT department to allow the use of personal devices because they know that any company data can be kept safe.

Microsoft has clearly taken the hint regarding security. Device encryption is included as a standard feature, and so is automatic scanning for malware by Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft is including Windows Defender antivirus as part of Windows 8.1 which will scan programs before execution and monitor network behavior to spot malware by its activities, regardless of whether it has a known signature.

The security enhancements continue with what Microsoft calls Device Lockdown, which is actually a means of limiting access to the Windows Store to only approved apps. Windows 8.1 Enterprise will also include application side-loading so that corporate apps don’t need to be uploaded to the Windows Store prior to being installed.

Rather than make this a laundry list of Windows 8.1 features, it’s better to say that Windows 8.1 Enterprise appears to be a real enterprise platform. While it shares much in common with the consumer versions of Windows 8.1, there’s also a lot that’s new that consumers will never see.

Of course, Microsoft has offered special enterprise features for Windows business users. But now they’re being offered as an integral part of the operating system, in much the same way as it delivered Windows 7 Enterprise, but this time with more features and deeper integration.

The preview version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise is available for download now. Microsoft is also offering deployment help, and there’s a new blog for deployment planning geared to Windows 8.1. Some of the Microsoft Windows 8.1 deployment tools are already available for you to try out.

Even if you haven’t started using the initial Windows 8.1 Preview software, this is a good time to download the version that’s aimed at the IT department and start getting familiar with this new version of Windows. With the changes designed to make the experience significantly more enterprise friendly, and with the significant security and management improvements, you may find that Windows 8 isn’t so bad after all, especially now that you can boot directly to the desktop.