In Five Reasons to Switch to Windows 8 last week, I outlined some general reasons for making the transition to Microsoft’s latest operating system (OS). In today’s blog, I would like to focus on how a small and mid-sized business (SMB) can use the deployment of Windows 8 as an opportunity to help their organizations on the management, security, and hardware front.

Easier Management

It used to be that the only way businesses can clear out misconfigurations and other software gunk from accumulated installations would be to do a reformat and reinstallation of the Windows OS. Not only is this time-consuming for the IT department, it also sapped the productivity of office workers since affected PCs were unavailable for normal use during the process.

Aware of this problem, software companies developed powerful management tools with the ability to deploy or remove new software over the network. Designed for enterprise users, the cost of these tools were typically out of the reach of most SMBs, unfortunately. Thankfully, Windows 8 incorporates the ability to perform a “refresh” similar to a roll back in Windows 7. Taking just minutes to complete, a refresh offers the advantage of keeping files and user settings in place, as well as maintaining applications downloaded from the Windows Store.

Enhanced Security

Many SMBs may not have implemented BitLocker full disk encryption due to very old hardware or the presence of operating system editions that doesn’t support BitLocker. A company-wide migration to Windows 8 is hence the perfect opportunity to standardize on Windows 8 Pro and hardware with TPM (Trusted Platform Modules) support. From there, enabling BitLocker for heightened security is literally a click of a mouse away.

New hardware support

New Window 8 laptops typically come with better connectivity hardware that takes full advantage of new capabilities within Windows 8. For example, Windows 8 offers a completely new USB stack for USB 3.0 controllers for greater stability and performance. On this front, the Dell XPS 12 drops USB 2.0 ports altogether in favor of two USB 3.0 ports. The 80% greater power means that power-hungry devices that previously required two USB ports to power will just require a single USB 3.0 connection.

In addition, many of the new Windows 8 laptop also comes with greater graphics capabilities. This range from the incorporation of Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) 3.0 to the availability of DisplayPort, slated to replace DVI. For example, the mini-DisplayPort on the Dell XPS 12 can be used with external adapters such as the Matrox DualHead2Go SE (review) and Matrox TripleHead2Go DP Edition (review) for hooking up with two or three external monitors respectively.

And yes, Windows 8 offers better multi-monitor capabilities and will now display the taskbar on multiple screens. It offers more flexibility too, such as the ability to configure a panoramic view across multiple displays.

I will be writing more on touch displays and the new Modern UI found in Windows 8 in my next blog.

This is a paid post in conjunction with IDG and Dell