By now, most government agencies are aware that Windows XP is a few months away from its formal end-of-life support from Microsoft (April 8, 2014). Many government and public sector organizations have begun the migration to Windows 7 or 8 and if you’re among them you may be wondering if it’s worth all the effort.
Although Windows 7 is more familiar and a little easier to use with non-touch PCs, you may want to consider moving to Windows 8.1 for the improved security features this latest OS offers, according to a recent article on the technology information website, infoworld.com. All editions of Windows 8.1 including the RT version, now support BitLocker encryption using both TPMs and the hardware-level UEFI protection, which requires firmware updates to be digitally signed by a previously authorized party.
Multifactor authentication is also enhanced in Windows 8.1 with virtual smart cards (VSCs), which uses the TPM to provide two-part authentication, just like a physical smart card does. One part is the password or PIN, the other is VSC, with the private key stored on the system’s hard drive.
In addition, Windows Defender has been enhanced with network behavior monitoring to help stop the execution of malware. Defender will now look at “bad behaviors in memory, the registry, or the file system, even before signatures have been created,” says Dustin Ingalls, group program manager at Microsoft for Windows security and identity in the infoworld.com article.
Last, but not least, Windows 8.1 introduces Remote Data Removal which allows organizations to remove company data such as email, attachments and data without completely wiping the personal user’s data in the process.
If you are a government or public sector IT admin looking to ensure top security, take advantage of CTL®’s wide selection of laptops and desktops that come ready with Windows 8.1, visit ctl.net or call your sales rep for more information today.