Riverbank IT’s support engineer, Chris Barrett shares his tips for SME efficiency using Windows 10
Windows users of a certain vintage will cheer the return of the start menu, but perhaps more interesting for SMEs is the operating system’s adoption of voice command for desktop through virtual assistant Cortana. Chris Barrett speaks with The Telegraph‘s Hugh Wilson.
“Much like Google Now, Cortana can quickly save notes and reminders, alert you to flight details of any upcoming travel, help you locate specific documents on your hard drive as well as track packages,” says Mike Hickson of IT support company LSA Systems.
“The application also syncs with your Outlook calendar, reminding you of all upcoming meetings and events. Users are also able to update their home and work locations for location-based information.”
Windows 10 seamlessly integrates between compatible devices, so changes made on one will instantly appear on others. That can be particularly useful when using Cortana, says Andrea Osborne, director of lifestyle management and concierge at SME cushion the impact.
“Reminders you create with Cortana will replicate over all your machines so if you’re out and about using your phone, when you get back to your desk your reminder to call or email a client will pop up.”
Windows 10 offers advanced security for SMEs, especially with its double-authentication process. “The double-authentication process treats the user’s device as one factor and pin or biometric signature as another, preventing anyone else from signing onto your device with their credentials,” says Mr Hickson.
Still, no operating system is invulnerable, and David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, says SMEs still have to help themselves when it comes to securing their networks.
“Installing security patches and updates as soon as they become available is a good place to start, alongside checking default settings.
“Those handling financial transactions need to ensure hashing and salting of passwords and encryption of data.”
As most people know, Windows 10 can be upgraded – after your device has been checked for compatibility – by clicking on the Get Windows 10 app at the right hand side of the taskbar. Most SMEs are already likely to be running compatible hardware.
“From a business perspective the supposed fact that there are no extra system requirement for Windows 10 (when running up-to-date Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines), means fewer problems when upgrading, which historically has filled me with dread,” says Ms Osborne. “So far installing Windows 10 has been okay.”
iving an Edge
It is fair to say that Microsoft has had a browser problem, but Edge – the browser shipped with Windows 10 – is no mere Internet Explorer upgrade. Microsoft says Edge offers a safer, faster and more intuitive browser experience, and users seem to agree.
“Microsoft’s legacy Explorer web browser has been a continual thorn in its side and in recent years has prompted a steady flow of users to desert it in favour of Firefox, Chrome and even Safari,” says Antoine Feriaux, enterprise solutions consultant for Europe, Middle East and Africa at software company Accellion.
“Edge is a fundamentally new browser platform that will, hopefully, address a number of browser security and performance issues for the foreseeable future while also harmonising the browser experience across desktop, tablet and smartphone.”
And the rest
Of the other innovations in Windows 10, virtual desktops – which allow you to group related applications and tasks together in a single virtual screen – have been widely welcomed. But other features have caught the attention of business users, too.
“Quiet Hours is a lovely new application – it allows you to turn off emails and social updates allowing periods of uninterrupted, productive and more focused time,” says Chris Barrett, support engineer at Oxford-based Riverbank IT.
“The new Task View interface is also a winner. Only windows from your current virtual desktop appear in the Task View list, and you can use the virtual desktop switcher at the bottom of the screen to switch between virtual desktops.”
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