Is Snow Leopard Business Ready?
What can Snow Leopard do for your business?
While Microsoft (MS) and their faithful generally regard Apple's Snow Leopard operating system as a purely home/small-business niche OS, there is increasing evidence that Apple is starting to target the business and enterprise computing environment as well. In their latest release, Apple has included many features that make it ready for mainstream business use. So what are these features?
Let us start with the most notable enterprise feature: first-class MS Exchange support. This feature makes it arguably more enterprise-ready than MS Windows 7 itself! It also contains Cisco VPN connectivity support built right in. Now, there is no need for an additional VPN client to connect securely to one of the most popular corporate VPN solutions around.
Snow Leopard (SL) also features an Airport menu icon indicating signal quality/strength. This will allow business travelers to select the best and strongest possible wireless connection with a simple, single mouse click. SL also features read only HFS+ files system support from Boot Camp. This means that users who use Apple's Boot Camp technology to run Windows on their Mac can now access all files from the Mac partition while running Windows.
SL also has received a very nice boost in print support features. It can automatically find nearby printers, and will automatically update all your printer drivers. This will give corporate users more flexibility, while also reducing the IT overhead required to administer them. One of the more glamourous features that corporate users will appreciate is making annotations right in Preview. This means that PDF files can be annotated with comments, links, highlighting, strikethrough text, shapes, text, and arrows, all from within Preview.
One of the best reasons that Snow Leopard is now enterprise ready is Apple's publicly stated view on updates. Instead of heralding this release as a totally new OS, they smartly described it as an incremental update and refinement to an already solid OS. Corporate IT departments do not want to even consider having to deploy a new OS company wide every 18 months. This incremental $29 "update", on the other hand, makes it an easier to swallow pill for IT decision makers. Certainly it is much easier to consider than the transition from Windows XP to Windows Vista, or even from Windows Vista to Windows 7.
Finally, with lowering hardware prices, a tremendous number of strictly under-the-hood improvements, and the full compliment of MS Office products available (in addition to Apple's beautifully engineered office suite), you may not miss your Windows PC as much as you may think. So, is your organization next? Why not ask your IT department what their near term technology migration plans are, and see if Apple is included.
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