4 questions employees should ask before buying a Windows tablet for work

 In End-User Devices, Hardware

More and more, enterprises are trusting employees to choose their own mobile devices and operate them in the workplace, and tablets are at the forefront of this movement. Yet with that choice comes certain variables for the enterprise, namely security, compatibility, licensing, and support.

Existing and upcoming Windows tablets offer much of the performance of traditional desktops and laptops, and their security seamlessly integrates with many existing enterprise systems. The myriad options allow users to adopt a tablet that best fits their work, right out of the box.

Here are four questions that a workforce should ask to help focus its search for a tablet best suited to a particular job and that will fit existing enterprise systems.

How much content creation do I handle?

Many tablets are more suitable for content consumption than content creation, given the clumsy experience of typing on a tablet screen. But some tablets are designed to meet the needs of content creators. The Microsoft Surface tablet offers a full, light-weight, click-in keyboard that fastens to the tablet and cross-functions as a cover. Other devices, like the Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook, come with a rip-and-flip keyboard option, which allows users to alternate between a full laptop and a touchscreen tablet. Beyond keyboards, the Microsoft Surface provides stylus capabilities, enabling users to write directly on the tablet surface. The Dell Latitude 10 also syncs with a stylus that captures handwriting in detail.

How much time do I spend on the road?

Tablets offer an ultraportable solution for taking work wherever you go, but for true road warriors, many tablets sacrifice performance or battery life for portability. But processors are catching up — Intel has shipped its Haswell chip, which eliminates the need for fans in tablets. By removing fans, mobile devices will cut weight drastically while also increasing battery life. Intel’s Bay Trail Atom chip too is expected to step up performance.

But when employees split their time equally between their desk and the road, they’ll typically need more power and functionality at their desk than most tablets can provide. More and more devices are emerging with docking capabilities that expand the tablet into something resembling a typical desktop computer. The Dell Latitude 10, for example, offers a productivity dock that provides users with USB, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and audio output ports. If you’re looking for a simpler setup, the Microsoft Surface comes close to a desktop with a built-in kickstand, traditional keyboard, and USB port that allows you to connect a larger screen if necessary.

How secure is this tablet?

Personal devices in the workplace open the flood gates to potential enterprise security breaches. But Windows devices offer full Microsoft Office capabilities, which merge well into Windows workplaces. Windows devices also pair better with IT environments and link with secure servers, while possessing extended security options. For example, Secure Boot prevents malware from loading during startup.

How does the software on this tablet affect my company’s volume licensing agreements?

Software licensing compliance probably doesn’t rank very high on your list of new tablet requirements, but it should. What you buy and use in a work environment could alter your organization’s overall licensing compliance and introduce risks and penalties.

Before purchasing your new device, check in with your organization’s IT department to see if it provides a list of pre-approved devices that are compliant with your company’s IT environment. SHI offers organizations a customized, online catalog that summarizes all of the devices, accessories, and software currently supported by company standards. Logging onto SHI.com and selecting a device from this portfolio will save you (and your IT folks) a potential headache when it comes to ensuring compliance within your company’s IT environment. It’s also a surefire way to get on your IT department’s good side — convenient for the next time you run into software, connectivity, or other tech issues.

Employees should pick a tablet based on particular needs, instead of defaulting to the most popular model. If you leave it to your workforce to find their own tablet, these four questions will serve as a guide to snagging the right mobile device.

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