If you're like me you probably looked at the IE8 Beta and the "what's new" and saw things like Web Slices, Adaptive Zoom, Rendering Modes and Web Standards Support. All interesting things but really focused on the developer. What about the IT Pro? What do you need to know? Believe it or not there are some changes that will make your life easier.
Security is always a hot topic and let's be honest for a minute. IE6 had a lot of issues with security and while IE7 has made some big strides with Protected Mode, ActiveX restrictions and the Phishing Filter, IE8 adds to this with some further security improvements including Per User / Per Site ActiveX controls.
With more and more of our apps becoming web enabled or moving completely to web based services application compatibility becomes an issue. The same types of issues that happen when you move from one OS to another can appear when moving from IE7 to IE8. This is primarily due to the support for Web standards but thankfully the same tools you use to manage this transition, test your apps and build workarounds (namely the Application Compatibility Toolkit) are being upgraded so you can use them to test those apps and ensure they are working with IE8. There is also a new set of Group Policy objects that will for much finer grained controls including settings around app compat.
Slipstreaming. Yes. Finally. I've been there, trying to get my images updated with the latest SP, the latest apps and it is never fun. Thankfully the IE team has heard the feedback and will support slipstreaming of IE8 into Windows Vista/2008. You might ask why not XP/2003 and it has to do with the way they support updating components, err the way they don't. For newer deployments it should save quite a bit of time compared to rebuilding an image.