Another year, another operating system. So why should small business owners care about Windows 8? According to Microsoft’s Russ Madlener, ease of use, increased mobility and tighter security are just some of the reasons why.
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In October Microsoft launched its latest operating system, which comes with a completely new look and touch screen user interface. Now users can choose between using their keyboard or finger to manipulate things on the screen, similar to what people have come to know and love about a smartphone.
For small business owners, wanting to upgrade to Windows 8 simply because it has touch technology may not make sense, but according to Madlener what touch technology brings is a new and easy way to interact with their computers.
Take the start screen on Windows 8. Aiming to make it easier for users to find what is most important to them, Microsoft has made it possible for business owners to customize it with live tiles of the most commonly used apps and business software. “Small business users will find what they use most on that start screen,” says Madlener. “The things they want they can get to more quickly.”
Touch also comes into play when configuring the PC. Whether it’s adding a printer, scanner or other device, that can all be done by the touch of a finger, which Madlener says makes it much easier to accomplish.
Since touch is a very mobile type attribute, it’s not surprising that Windows 8 comes with its own app store, which can be found in a tile on the start screen. There users can access business and entertainment apps either by clicking or touching the screen. “We’ve taken a lot of the learning we’ve done with the Windows phone operating system and brought it into the PC,” says Madlener.
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Continuing what appears to be a push to make the PC more mobile phone like, Windows 8 also has more technology found in smartphones built in -- like GPS and support for 3G and 4G mobile broadband. With Windows 8 the PC has “connectivity freedom ala the phone,” says Madlener. Small business owners may find the metering feature particularly useful because with it they can track how much data they use so they aren’t hit with a large data bill.
Anyone who owns a PC knows that security can be a problem. It could be a death sentence for a small business if their computer is hacked and their data is compromised. With PCs becoming more mobile, the chance that one is lost or stolen increases. Microsoft went to great lengths with Windows 8 to prevent data from being accessed when a business owner loses it.
For instance, Windows 8 has built in picture password security. Utilizing the touch technology, the user would lock the screen with a photo and a three touch sequence password. The photo may be a picture of the family cat and the first sequence could be drawing a circle around the cat’s tail, while the second sequence could be a square around the entire cat and the third touch may be a circle around its head. According to Madlener doing it this way gives small business users a “very secure” way to protect vital data.
Windows 8 also has technology embedded in it called Trusted Boot that will interact with the hardware to ensure there are no viruses or malware before the computer is booted up. Madlener says this is important to small business owners because recent research commissioned by Microsoft shows that close to two out of three small businesses have experienced damaging virus and malware infiltration. Not to mention small businesses are coveted targets for hackers and scammers.