Why Windows 8.1 is best for business

Why Windows 8.1 is best for business
Microsoft's OS can make your business sharper and smarter

Windows 8.1 is the most powerful Windows yet, and it's the most flexible too. It's as productive on an ultra-thin notebook as it is on a high-end workstation, and it delivers the goods on all-in-one PCs and business tablets alike.

It's designed to bring together everything your business does, on all your devices, wherever your employees need to be.

The best of both worlds

Windows 8.1 delivers everything you expect from Windows - and a whole lot more. You can take advantage of new mobile apps that are easier and faster to develop, deploy and manage, and the enhanced user experience takes full advantage of touch-screen tablets and notebooks.

But there's also the ability to use the familiar Windows Desktop and your existing apps, including Office. That delivers the best of both worlds: touch-friendly mobile apps for mobile working, and full desktop applications when you're back at base.

One of Windows' great strengths has always been its management and security features, and with Windows 8.1 they've been given a significant upgrade. New security features include enhanced support for biometrics, ensuring that corporate data is encrypted and can be wiped remotely, and there's extensive support for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies to make the most of your existing investments and infrastructure.

The Mobile Device Management features have been beefed up too. Internet Explorer has been given a significant upgrade too. It delivers much faster page load times, side-by-side browsing, and synchronisation of favourites, tabs and settings between multiple devices. It's also more secure than before, with an integrated anti-malware system that scans for dangerous files and significant improvements to Windows' own Defender security software.

More mobility

In addition to the enhanced user experience and apps, Windows 8.1 delivers a host of new features for mobile users. There's enhanced support for mobile broadband including support for embedded wireless radio, which delivers increased power savings and longer battery life while also enabling thinner, less expensive mobile devices, and Windows 8.1 devices offer tethering, which shares their mobile broadband connection by creating a local Wi-Fi hotspot other devices can connect to.

The new NFC-based 'tap to pair' feature enables effortless connection to enterprise printers, and there's support for Wi-Fi Direct for instant peer-to-peer networking with wireless printers. Mobile presenters will appreciate the native Miracast wireless display capabilities, and the new Work Folders feature offers seamless synchronisation between users' devices and the company's data centre.

More choices

With Windows 8.1, businesses can choose from a huge range of devices to fit every conceivable scenario, ranging from thin and light Ultrabooks and tablets for maximum mobility and sleek, space saving all-in-one PCs to hugely powerful desktop and laptop workstations for high-end applications such as engineering, imaging, design and desktop virtualisation.

Microsoft's goal was to offer customers the best business tablets and modern business PCs, driven by the most powerful operating system - and with Windows 8.1, that's exactly what it has delivered.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.