According to figures from Netmarketshare, up to 30 per cent of businesses are still running Windows XP - a worrying number considering the implications.

With Microsoft ending support for its popular operating system on 8th April, many companies are looking to upgrade. And now is the time to do so: when XP's End of Life (EoL) arrives in April, those still running the operating system (OS) will be at risk. It is likely that hackers will target XP as a weak entry point, and anti-virus will not be effective in the long term.

And it’s not just the security implications that are convincing companies to make the move - Windows 8 has many business-focused benefits: it offers a reliable and secure user experience alongside networking capabilities and features that are essential to IT administrators. The OS also works seamlessly with an existing Windows management infrastructure.

So why upgrade to Windows 8 rather than Windows 7? Here are our top five of Windows 8 features that are fit for businesses.

Grow as you expand

Businesses are looking for technology that is easy, flexible, and can grow as the company expands. With this in mind, some firms are automatically upgrading to Windows 7. However, this might not be the cheaper solution: its End of Life will begin in 2020, and extended support mode kicks off next year.

On the other hand, upgrading to Windows 8 will safeguard your business for the future. It combines features for businesses with the experiences smaller firms need, offering new possibilities in mobility and productivity.

And the transition doesn't have to be a complex process. It can be made with the help and expertise of Dell, using solutions such as Dell Migration and Deployment Services, which make upgrading quick, easy and efficient.

Secure


The growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is seeing staff bring their own hardware into work, making security a key consideration. With Windows 8, businesses are able to maintain common security settings across mobile devices whatever the size of the company.

Another security enhancement in Windows 8 is BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, which allow companies to encrypt every file stored on a device’s drive.

Additionally, all Windows 8 editions include remote business data removal, so firms can quickly remove data from an employee’s personal device if it's lost or stolen. The operating system also boasts biometric support for advanced fingerprint readers and Windows Defender malware protection.

Mobile working

With the ability to cut costs and drive efficiency, an increasing number of businesses are allowing staff to work remotely. This makes the ability to monitor and manage mobile devices integral.

By offering the flexibility to work on documents on the move and access PCs in the office, Windows 8.1 is the ideal tool. When a user signs in with a Microsoft account to any PC running Windows 8, they will immediately see their own background, display preferences, and settings.

Windows 8 works harmoniously with many types of devices, including touch, mouse-and-keyboard, or both. At the same time, processes are speeded up with improved file search, faster start up times and better performance.

App management


Devices such as tablets and smartphones are increasingly used for work, leading enterprise apps to grow in popularity. However, it is often difficult to streamline the user experience.

Using Windows 8, businesses can make sure every tablet runs the same app experience, creating a universal feel across devices. Windows 8 also maximises staff productivity by making sure that unnecessary apps are not accessible.

Powerful hardware

Windows 8 starts up faster, switches between apps more quickly, and uses power more efficiently than previous versions of Windows, including Windows 7. This means Windows 8 will keep your business productive for longer, making it the ideal business tool alongside a PC refresh.

And hardware vendors such as Dell are offering lighter, more powerful Windows devices designed for business. These have a superior battery life and offer productivity apps such as Office 365, so employees can work from any location.

Meanwhile Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry allows the operating system to be used on devices such as point of service terminals, digital signs and kiosks.