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Windows 10: are you persuaded to upgrade your operating system?

Mike HicksonDeparting from the shortcomings of Windows 8, Microsoft has promised to focus on Windows 10 Enterprise to win over business consumers who have been neglected in previous incarnations.

Microsoft has opened its eyes to the emerging modern tech landscape and incorporated much of what we have already seen in Android, Apple and Google into one operating system.

The firm has focused primarily on unifying the user experience over a multitude of platforms and devices, creating a shared platform architecture that has not been seen in other versions of its OS.

However, when taking a deeper look into Windows 10, one has to wonder how much of a departure it is from previous operating systems. How much does it offer SME’s that other operating systems and apps cannot? Why should SME’s upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise?

BYOD Features & Data Security

Microsoft’s newly introduced Enterprise Data Protection model is a great positive for Windows 10 Enterprise, which has not been seen in previous versions of Windows. Offering companies greater protection over their data can solve many of the BYOD issues that SME’s face in the work place, with the separation of personal and company data being a pulling factor.

IT departments will now be able to define the boundaries of their company network and apply data protection policies to data sourced from those networks.

This protection can then follow the data around wherever it goes, giving company data extra protection which previous versions of Windows did not offer. Security settings can also be customised, allowing certain individuals to share company data with personal apps when needed.

However, with the use of EDP and Air Watch, who opens certain data, where the data moves to and what is done with it, is recorded for auditing purposes. Leaving no room for undetectable data leakages and the need for disaster recovery.

Yet this is not anything particularly new or innovative in the way of data security and has been involved in the data management through servers for many years. Having said that, bringing this under the umbrella of an operating system will have many long term financial and time benefits, creating an environment where growing data can be managed and protected more efficiently.

For SME’s without the security infrastructure of larger organisations, they will find this extremely useful and it can certainly be seen as a pro for this OS. What Windows 10 offers to those who already have such precautions in place is a platform from which server type security settings can be achieved without a server, bringing your security procedures under one umbrella.

Functionality

Microsoft has described one of its new Windows 10 features, Cortana, as being the all-round virtual assistant. Much in the way of Google Now and Google Keep, Cortana can assist users with task reminders, calendar reminders, location information and travel updates. In addition, it can help you find files on your hard drive and does not interrupt normal mouse and keyboard function. Therefore it allows users to continue replying to an email whilst commanding Cortana to set a reminder.

However, when comparing this to other apps already in the market, how much is Microsoft really branching out with Cortana? Is it something that could become so pivotal to SME’s that they should upgrade as soon as possible? One aspect of Cortana that they can proudly uphold is their introduction of a voice command system onto desktop. Windows 10 also takes its departure from the likes of Siri and Google Now with the smooth operating of desktop functions whilst still communicating with Cortana, allowing for a higher level of productivity and efficiency during your work day.

Cortana is also always listening, meaning that there is no need to press a button to voice command your assistant into finding something out or setting reminders. Rather, a simple “Hello Cortana” will have your commands fulfilled.

However, with Cortana always recording, waiting for that hello, computer resources are constantly being used in the background and security concerns are raised when wondering what exactly happens to these recordings?

When Windows 10 was released, many people had voiced their concerns around the fact that Microsoft is gathering information from apps like Cortana and their new Edge browser to improve user ability. Although Microsoft has stated that Enterprise is not defaulted to record information, for companies that deal with sensitive data in their daily work load – this can be a valid concern.

Windows as a Service

Windows 10 has been termed as more than an operating system with Microsoft affectionately describing its latest OS as a service. This will be the last major operating system update that we will see from Microsoft, with new updates being done automatically over time.

Users today view their operating system as a part of their device and expect it to update and change during the life span of that device. Microsoft has always been one step behind other OS suppliers with its paid for OS updates.

Of course, not having to do a major update on their companies systems again will make IT departments worldwide very happy. It will have some great benefits in the future, and for smaller companies who are not as entrenched in old systems, this will be a pull that may see them upgrade at some point before support ends for Windows 7 in 2020.

Updating a company’s operating system is a costly, timely and arduous task. Not only does it place a financial strain on the business but it also causes system downtime and training time. Windows 10 does not provide much incentive for businesses to undergo this process. For those business which already have procedures in place to protect data, manage BYOD policies and remind their employees of daily tasks, there is no reason for these business to re-establish their procedures for an operating system that can bring them nothing more than one umbrella to house all of their services.

Mike Hickson is the managing director of LSA Systems

* This is a sponsored column via DBdirect. For details about how this service could help your company see below

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