Windows 8.1 Business and Productivity Features

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Windows 8.1 Is the latest operating system (OS) from Microsoft, and brings with it many changes to the Windows environment. For a full preview of some of the major changes, view our Windows 8.1 Preview article. Today we will look at some of the best features targeted at the IT sector, and how Windows 8.1 can aid your business.

 

Bring Your Own Device

For the first time ever, Microsoft is supporting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) functionality. BYOD is very popular amongst employees, as it allows them to pick the device that best suits their preferences, but it makes things complicated for IT departments. Trusting company-specific data to employee’s personal machines can be a nervous exercise. 

With Windows 8.1, two features have been added:

  • Workplace Join: A domain feature that ensures only trusted devices are allowed onto an enterprise network.

  • Work Folders: Work related folders that are placed in their own partition on a device, so that they can be wiped remotely if necessary, without disrupting personal data.

 

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication has been supported in Windows via third party drivers for quite some time. The problem however, was that maintaining the drivers for varying finger print readers across multiple PC’s for multiple generations is a tiresome task. 

In Windows 8.1, the drivers for biometric authentication devices (such as finger print readers), are built into the OS and are ready to go immediately. Support for authentication on an app-by-app basis has also been added, so biometrics can be used as security for more then simply logging into said computer. 

 

Kiosk Mode

Windows 8.1 can be placed into a kiosk mode simply, without having to purchase third party software such as Deep Freeze. When enabled, the OS is only capable of running a single app, and nothing else. Modification to the system are done through Windows management tools such as Group Policy and System Center.

 

Virtual Private Network Enhancements

Windows 8.1 brings native support for VPN’s, such as Cisco, Juniper, and Alcatel. In the past, client software had to be installed in order to use any VPN from a vendor. VPN’s are also smarter, gaining the functionality to only be initiated when required by an application. 

 

System Wide Data Encryption

All editions of Windows 8.1 provide data encryption to the user. Additionally, Professional and Enterprise editions allow for BitLocker managed encryption. All encryption methods are based off of BitLocker, and use a 128 or 256 bit AES encryption key. This will satisfy regulatory encryption requirements for medical and financial data.

 

Conclusion

Windows 8.1 brings features that will benefit the IT crowd such as:

  • Bring Your Own Device

  • Biometric Authentication

  • Kiosk Mode

  • Enhanced Virtual Private Networks

  • System Wide Data Encryption

These features will allow IT professional more effective and efficient control over their computers and networks. Packetworks is a leader in all things Internet and networking. Although us to take your company to the next level with ultra fast internet, bandwidth, and networking solutions.


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