As the end of support for Windows XP approaches, a number of small businesses are looking for an alternative.

Improved functionality and the ability to work across devices makes Windows 8 the ideal choice. However, there are several versions to choose from. So which is best for your business?

Windows 8

With enhanced security features and functionality, Windows 8 was the most comprehensive overhaul of Microsoft's operating system for years. Windows 8 improves on the speed, reliability and security found in Windows 7 and works seamlessly with an existing Windows management infrastructure.

Windows 8 Pro

It’s slightly more expensive than Windows 8, but Windows 8.1 Pro lets you easily manage user settings, updates, and security options on all of your devices. The operating system provides enhanced data protection with BitLocker and BitLocker To Go to keep information secure. It also has the ability to enable a remote desktop connection on your PC, so you can connect to it when using a different device. Using Windows 8.1 Pro, you can join a domain so that you can connect to the corporate network wherever you are.

Windows 8 Enterprise

Windows 8 Enterprise is aimed at larger businesses, so it will only be the right choice if you are at the bigger end of the small business sector. To qualify for Windows 8 Enterprise, you’re required to have at least five PCs in your business. Firms also need to participate in Microsoft’s Volume Licensing programme to get access to the enterprise version.

The verdict

It depends on the needs of your business, but Windows 8 Pro has the tools to suit most small firms. Whichever option you choose, moving from XP can be quick, easy and painless using Dell Migration Services, which promise to halve the time it takes to upgrade.