Some examples of new or enhanced enterprise features in Windows 8, according to Microsoft's Reynolds: More efficient use of Direct Access, a networking feature in Windows 7 that lets mobile workers connect to corporate networks without the use of a VPN; BitLocker encryption is streamlined in Windows 8 so that only sectors of the hard drive that contain data will be encrypted and will do the task while you are working; in addition, Windows 8 will introduce a feature called Secure Boot, which prevents malware from booting up before the OS boots up.
"Obviously we're excited about the new features in Windows 8, but our guidance for enterprise customers using Windows XP is to focus on accelerating Windows 7 deployments," says Reynolds. "End of XP extended support is in April 2014, which leaves little time for organizations to move to Windows 8. In fact, in most cases we think it wouldn't even be possible."
To that end, Gartner presents four recommendations for Windows XP enterprise holdouts that are at a crossroads in their deployment strategy.
- Organizations running Windows XP and working on Windows 7 migrations: Continue as planned; do not switch to Windows 8.
- Organizations that find it difficult to do "forklift" upgrades: Consider bringing in Windows 8 through attrition.
- Organizations interested in new devices enabled by Windows 8: Consider Windows 8, even if you intend to skip Windows 8 for traditional PCs.
- Enterprise developers: Become familiar with the Metro style of applications, which will likely be the preferred desktop metaphor in the future as the focus for Windows 8 applications.
Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org
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