Approach to Windows Vista
You may or may not have heard about the next generation of Windows client operating system, but it is approaching fast. Windows Vista will come with a new interface, revolutionary new features, more security options and faster performance. If you have not heard about it, your IT staff probably has. They might have joined the Beta team and have been reviewing Vista for integration with your existing environment. This article is designed to help you understand why it is important for your IT staff to be as involved as possible with the Beta and Release Candidate of Windows Vista.
Joining the Beta team
The Beta team for Windows Vista is a limited but not overly tight group. To get more information, you only need to go to Microsoft's website. Once on the team, the Beta testers will be privy to new versions of the operating system as Microsoft completes them. This inside information also allows your IT staff to become more familiar with the security, features and options that Microsoft is constantly working on for future operating systems. Windows Vista is promising to tackle some of the most difficult security issues that almost every company running Microsoft operating systems faces.
Windows Vista features
To get you and your IT staff up to speed faster with the Beta of Windows Vista, let me explain some of the new technologies that Microsoft is working on in the product:
User Account Protection (UAP): This feature allows end users to log on to their workstation as a standard user instead of an administrator. Then, when they need to access applications as an administrator, they are prompted to input a password that will elevate their privilege.
Windows Desktop Search: Microsoft has spent the past few years integrating a new search engine with the entire operating system. This will allow for faster and more robust searches for files, folders, contacts, e-mails and attachments that exist on the computer.
New interface (Aero): Windows Vista will provide an innovative new interface that will provide 3D graphics, transparencies, drop shadows and zooms to enhance the user experience.
When to implement?
The goal of being a Beta tester is to evaluate the operating system and features that might help your company and users become more productive and profitable. The goal is not to integrate the OS into your organization the day it is released to the manufacturer. That would be highly aggressive and not the best option for most companies. There are many companies that Beta test operating systems but don't implement the final version until after the first service pack is released. You might fall at the beginning or end of this range.
Now is the time to become informed about the new Microsoft Windows Vista client operating system. There are many features that can make your users more productive, reduce the load on your Help Desk, and give administrators firmer control over the security of the enterprise. Not evaluating Vista at this point is an option, but I highly suggest that you allow your IT staff the time and environment to give it a good test drive so that your company is prepared for the future.
Derek Melber, MCSE, MVP, and CISM, is the Director of Education, Certifications, and Compliance Solutions for DesktopStandard Corp. He has written the only books on auditing Windows security available at The Institute of Internal Auditors' bookstore and also wrote the Group Policy Guide for Microsoft Press -- the only book Microsoft has written on Group Policy. You can contact Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org.