Despite the fact that Windows Home is designed for use in domestic environments, we regularly bring on new clients who use it for their business. Historically, Microsoft has been pretty relaxed about these breaches of their user agreement, but while you can use it to operate commercially, should you?

Typically, users have the Home edition of Windows because it comes pre-installed on devices, and also works out a bit cheaper. In fact, many businesses don’t even realise there is a difference between the Home and Professional versions of Windows, which one they have installed, or that Professional is richer in the features. While ‘cheaper’ is true in terms of capital expenditure – it will physically cost you less – it isn’t true if you consider it as a full cost-benefit analysis.

Yes, we know this sounds like a regurgitated sales pitch, but what do these differences mean in real terms? Aside from Windows Pro being more feature-rich than the Home edition, there are several practicalities of using the Home edition that might be limiting how your business can work:

  • Limited identity management. In simple terms, this controls which devices can be joined to the work network (either via cloud or in the office) and how they can retrieve login identities from work. On Windows Home, this is restricted, which in practical terms means that trust cannot be established between devices, and therefore devices cannot talk to each other on an ongoing basis. This limits the potential for your teams to work collaboratively on the same document. It’s all about PRODUCTIVITY.
  • No device encryption. Using Windows Home leaves a massive hole in your cybersecurity. That’s not to say that Windows Home isn’t secure – it is – it is just that the Home edition makes assumptions about the type of work you will be doing. It assumes that you will be browsing the internet and saving personal items, but won’t be working on or storing personal information, data, or commercially-sensitive documents, and therefore don’t require security to reflect that. What this actually means in real terms is that a device that uses a Home edition isn’t encrypted and therefore data can be easily removed – or stolen – from the device: the hard drive can be removed and plugged into a USB adapter and it is suddenly an elaborate USB stick that doesn’t even need a password. Switching to the Pro version immediately solves this problem, adding relevant security that actually suits the way you work. As an aside, it is compatible with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which comes with extra security features such as “Windows Information Protection” which allows you to tag a document as sensitive and prevent it from being accidentally sent or leaked outside of the organisation. It’s all about SECURITY.
  • It’s difficult to remote- or cloud-manage. Windows has an in-built feature called remote desktop, but this cannot be used on a Windows Home device. This means that your IT company can’t help remotely (unless they use an unsecured workaround) and they will have to visit the office, or you will need to do it yourself. You also can’t deploy or reset devices from the cloud like you can Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Ultimately, this means you’re either doing things the long way round, or potentially costing yourself more than you need to. It’s all about SIMPLICITY and COST.
  • You have to set-up every single time. If your business supports hot-desking, job-sharing or more than one user shares a device, then you’re missing out on the benefits of “assigned access” if you’re using Windows Home. Assigned Access, which is available on the Microsoft 365 Business Premium, means that the system recognises the user that is logged in, and presents the right apps, programs and logins for that user. This is much more convenient for your team members, not to mention secure. It’s all about CONVENIENCE

So there you have it. Yes, you can use a Personal license, but with a 365 Business package, you can do so much more. Speak to our team about auditing your existing systems and transitioning from Personal to Business with ease. You can reach us on 01453 700 800.