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Business guide for Windows 8

When Microsoft unveiled the consumer preview version of Windows 8 last week, the company didn't ignore business users. Indeed, Redmond simultaneously published an eight-page Product Guide for Business that details the various ways Microsoft expects Windows 8 to appeal to the business world. It's an intriguing PDF, since conventional wisdom is that Windows 8 targets consumers at the expense of enterprise and business.

Here are some of the highlights:

Line of business app development. As I have previously suggested, the new modern full-screen app environment in Windows 8 isn't just for playing Cut the Rope and browsing recipes. It's a great place to host your line of business apps, and the streamlined HTML5-based development platform means you can rapidly create apps and roll out replacements for your aging LOB tools.

Notifications on the Start screen. New modern apps can include notifications right on their app tiles, making it easy to keep knowledge workers informed about important status and actions.

Windows To Go. It's possible to build a custom "image" of Windows and your business applications and give it to employees and vendors on a bootable USB memory key. That means that workers can boot into the corporate work environment from any PC -- including a personal home computer -- and have secure access to business tools and the corporate work environment.

Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft's browser has been much maligned over the past decade as it lost ground to Firefox and Chrome. But the last few versions of IE are much improved, and IE10 appears to set a new standard. Not only is IE10 a safe and secure browser, but the modern version (as opposed to IE on the traditional desktop) is explicitly designed to work "plug-in free" for extremely high levels of safety and security.

DirectAccess. DirectAccess is a modern alternative to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) -- it enables remote users to access corporate intranet resources like line of business apps and internal websites without having to launch additional network connections, and with enhanced security.

There are many other Windows 8 features for business users -- to see them all, download the Windows 8 Consumer Product Guide for Business.

Dave Johnson was employed by Microsoft Corporation at the time this article was written.

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