Windows 8 launch offers brief mention of enterprises

Ballmer alludes to security, new features with other Microsoft platform

Microsoft gave a faint wave to enterprises during its Windows 8 launch party, but held off on the details.

CEO Steve Ballmer said at the event that corporate customers will love Windows 8 devices for their security features, but didn't detail them.

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"Windows uniquely gives them the tools they need to protect their corporate data, something they rely on from Microsoft," Ballmer said. "Business IT departments tell us that Windows 8 will give them what they need while at the same time giving them the ability to let their employees select the Windows devices that they really want."

What he was likely referring to was a list of Windows 8 security features described by the company over the past year.

Among them:

* Built-in VPN clients.

* Two factor authentication based on the trusted platform modules embedded in the processors of Windows 8 machines. The machine itself acts as a secure token and is paired with a password.

* Secure boot also uses TPM to assure that the operating system hasn't been corrupted from the trusted version that was installed.

* Trusted boot is a process that loads anti-malware before loading the operating system itself so it can detect and halt malware that might otherwise try to shut down the anti-malware.

* Data stored on the devices is encrypted by default.

* Windows 8 introduces picture passwords that unlock Windows 8 machines when users touch the right points on a photo in the right order.

Ballmer also promised imminent announcements for enterprises about its customer relationship management/enterprise resource management platform Microsoft Dynamics. It will also have news about its cloud-based enterprise social networking software Yammer that it has promised with integrate with Dynamics and also with SharePoint, Office and Lync platforms, he says.

Microsoft's development environment Visual Studios, Windows Server and its cloud computing platform Azure will all also be upgraded to add to the Windows 8 experience, he says.

(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Tim_Greene.)

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