When Windows 8 launched earlier this year, the feature that sparked the most excitement amongst my colleagues in public safety and national security was Windows to Go. This incredible technology fundamentally changes the way we think about mobility for emergency responders, law enforcement professionals and warfighters.
Soldiers on the battlefield can now travel light but still maintain access to their personal computing resources through Humvee terminals and vehicle laptops. During natural disasters, first responders can have a defense against their tablets and laptops being destroyed because all of their data is in their pocket. And for everyday teleworking, personnel now have local access to all of their apps and data without the need for expensive virtualization or remote desktop solutions.
That’s because Windows to Go is your entire desktop in your pocket. It’s your operating system, all of your apps, and all of your files on a small bootable USB drive you can take wherever you go. It not only works with any Intel-compatible PC with a USB port, but it adapts to your hardware. If you plug your USB stick into a touch-enabled slate, your experience will be touch-enabled. And the best part is that Windows to Go comes with all of the Windows 8 security features, including BitLocker encryption, Secure Boot and Windows Defender, so you can say goodbye to the security concerns typically associated with USB sticks.
What all of these features really provide is freedom from our devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the new hardware designs, but Windows to Go can be extremely liberating for public safety and national security organizations.
Device freedom also means that organizations don’t necessarily need to purchase hardware on a per person basis. Maybe you just need a certain number of tablets for field operations that can be rotated to employees depending on need. Hardware can be allocated more efficiently while maintaining individualized computing experiences, and without sacrificing security.
In the next phase of mobility, the device doesn’t matter. Your data is with you at all times – and so is your mission success.