When it comes to business, having a reliable computer operating system is necessary to ensure that everything runs smoothly. And transitioning to a new one is a major task that requires careful evaluation.
If you have decided to switch your small business’s OS to Microsoft’s newest operating system, you have to take note that decision process does not end there. Similar to the previous versions of Windows, Windows 8 is not just a single edition OS. It comes in three editions: the basic Windows 8 version, Windows 8 pro and Windows 8 enterprise. All of them are business-friendly, but they have specific set of programs that can befit certain business needs. Hence, it is important to identify which one is truly right for you. Below is a simple breakdown of what each version has to offer.
Windows 8 is almost like Windows 7 edition, only that it features a modern UI giving it a whole new look and feel and it does not have a start button. There are also several under-the-hood improvements that make its faster and more responsive.
Although it is basic compared to the other two, it is definitely something when it comes to security. It uses UEFI that allows pre-boot authentication and it also features Windows Defender. Productivity wise, it offers a wide variety of core improvements, provide multi-monitor support, additional file histories, VHD mounting, native ISO, a streamlined task manager and amalgamated storage spaces. It boots, shuts down and sleep in a jiffy, enabling you to do tasks swiftly.
Perhaps the only drawback with this version and the other two as well is that they demand usage training, which may incur additional cost on your part. The modern UI is not your run-of-the-mill Windows desktop as it has hidden controls that you and employees might find difficult to navigate. However, since it functions more like the previous Windows version, its cost as well as available programs and applications can complement the needs of a small business.
Windows 8 Pro
Windows 8 Pro is a bit pricier than Windows 8. However, the additional fee also entails additional features, which are all business-friendly but are more specific in nature. For instance, it has a Domains and Group policy, which is especially advantageous if your business have to centrally manage a network as it will allow you to store all profiles and computer files in one server.
It also features BitLocker and EFS which allows the encryption of all company hard drives and even USB drives–a very useful tool for protecting sensitive client information. Another noteworthy feature is the Hyper-V, which is also available in the Windows 8 edition, but has more virtualization support in this edition. This permits running multiple virtualized servers in one system and can also be used to install guests OS in Windows 8 for testing.
Windows 8 Enterprise
Among the three editions, the Enterprise has the most advanced features and super-specialized tools, which small- and medium-size businesses may find unnecessary. Also, in order to access this version, you need to be a part of Microsoft’s Volume Licensing program in addition to having a minimum of five PCs in your company.
One of the best features of this edition is the Windows To Go that enables a fully functional and BitLocker-encryptable version of Windows 8 system to be loaded in a USB thumb drive. It also has DirectAccess that allows remote systems to act as though they are a part of an internal network without requiring the use of a separate VPN connection. The BranchCache program, on the other hand, improves performance and reduce bandwidth consumption by enabling computers to cache websites, content, files and then share them locally from one peer to the other.
Basically, when deciding which Windows 8 version is appropriate for your small business, it all boils down to identifying the needs of your company. If you are running a particularly small business and you have managed to work with the previous versions of Windows, then upgrading to either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro version will be a smooth transition, albeit training and education will be required. However, a particularly large business with more complex operating requirements may find the Windows 8 Enterprise a more suitable pick.