What healthcare organizations need to know about Windows 11

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A new design for Windows

The most noticeable difference between Windows 11 and its predecessors is what end users see first. The Start menu sits in the center of the screen and now allows users to pin frequently used apps and view recent apps and documents. Taskbar now includes Microsoft Teams by default, as well as a list of recent conversations. It’s a valuable shortcut for healthcare providers who use collaboration tools for patient-doctor and doctor-doctor conversations.

Other important Windows 11 features include Snap Layouts and Snap Tools, which allow users to switch between multiple desktop layouts without logging out or switching accounts. One desktop computer, for example, could be limited to the applications needed to examine a patient in person, while a second desktop computer could support more general computing needs.

Hardware requirements for Windows 11

To take advantage of these features, devices must meet the following requirements hardware requirements to run windows 11. (Configuration requirements are similar for virtual machines running Windows 11.)

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz or faster, with two or more cores
  • RAM: 4 gigabytes or more
  • Storage: 64 GB or more
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.0 driver
  • Firmware: Compatible with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Secure Boot
  • Trusted Platform Module: TPM 2.0
  • Internet: Connectivity required for setup and update

Security updates introduced in Windows 11

An article by CISO Mitchell Parker of Indiana University on Healthcare IT Today explains that the main processor requirements for windows 11 have a lot to do with security. The Meltdown and Specter vulnerabilities were discovered in January 2018, midway through the Windows 10 release cycle. Windows 11 CPU Requirements — 8th Gen Intel Core, AMD Zen 2, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 — all include security enhancements to address these vulnerabilities.

This is not the only security improvement introduced in the new operating system. Windows 11 supports Zero Trust architecture by default. This is a huge benefit for healthcare institutions: it makes it easier to deploy trustless security practices, such as multi-factor authentication and least-privilege access. This allows users to access the applications and data they need, but restricts access to other assets, which limits unauthorized access (whether unintentional or malicious) by people inside and outside the organization.

READ MORE: Prepare for a Windows 11 upgrade with this ultimate guide.

Finally, Windows 11 brings the retirement of Internet Explorer, effective June 15, 2022. Although several factors drove this decision, security was important: IE 11 rounded out security updates every month, while Microsoft Edge is patched within hours of discovering vulnerabilities.

This can be a red flag for organizations running browser-based applications that support patient care, billing, communications, or other core operational processes. Fortunately, Microsoft has integrated “IE mode” into Microsoft Edge, which allows the new browser to run applications and websites designed specifically for Internet Explorer.

How to manage a Windows 11 upgrade

Windows 11 is built on the same codebase as Windows 10, which means preparing for an upgrade to Windows 11 Should be smoother than previous updates. For example, device policy management tools can use existing Windows 10 policies in Windows 11. Additionally, any existing Windows 10 licenses will apply to Windows 11. Devices with Windows 10 drivers should also work normally in Windows 10. Windows 11. This will limit downtime traditionally associated with operating system upgrades – a boon for hospitals, which must maintain 24/7 operations.

Since Microsoft supports Windows 10 until 2025 and IE mode in Microsoft Edge until 2029, healthcare IT teams have time on their side. Organizations can develop a holistic approach Windows 11 Migration Plan to determine which devices are eligible for an upgrade, which apps are compatible, and whether the organization as a whole is ready for the latest version of the operating system. This will ensure that health technology leaders have considered the future state before initiate an enterprise-wide operating system upgrade, minimize disruptions to care delivery, and ensure a smooth transition to the new interface among end users across all business units.

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