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Vista security skepticism swells, according to survey

More than half of those who answered a recent survey say they have no current plans to deploy the upcoming Windows Vista OS.

When Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) was released nearly two years ago, most IT professionals said they were worried about compatibility problems and that they'd wait a while

The full release of Vista, the next big upgrade for Microsoft's operating system, isn't due out until early next year. A new survey though suggests Vista is already being viewed with skepticism similar to what was directed at SP2 in 2004.

According to a survey by Boca Raton, Fla.-based Amplitude Research conducted on behalf of Albuquerque, N.M.-based security firm VanDyke Software, more than half of respondents said they have no plans to deploy Vista when it comes out, despite all of the security improvements that Microsoft says will be baked into the operating system.

Amplitude culled the information after surveying 255 network and system administrators last month from a variety of industries. The enterprises also varied in size. Of those polled:

  • 10.98% are testing the limited beta version of Vista.
  • 19.21% are waiting until the public beta release to begin testing.
  • 25.49% are waiting until the official release to begin testing.
  • 5.09% have plans to deploy after successful completion of beta testing.
  • 20% will deploy after successful completion of testing of the official release.
  • 11.37% will deploy after Service Pack 1 for Vista is released.
  • 11.37% will deploy only on new PCs with Vista pre-installed.
  • 52.15% said they have no current plans to deploy Vista.

    Of those who do plan to test or deploy it, 58.33% said their primary interest in Vista is its "enhancements," while 30.12% cited "improved usability." Of those who have no plans to deploy Vista:

  • 36.84% said they can't justify the return on investment.
  • 36.84% said they feel more comfortable sticking with the current version of Windows.
  • 9.02% said there are no features in Vista to justify the upgrade.
  • 2.25% said they don't use Windows.
  • 1.5% said too many features have been dropped.
  • 13.53% listed "other" reasons.

    More on Windows Vista OS

    Microsoft shaking up security market

    High expectations not dampened by Vista delay

    Are respondents skeptical over Microsoft's past security challenges? Not necessarily, said Amplitude Research CEO Stephen Birnkrant.

    "I think it's just that it's a major change and IT administrators want to take it slowly," he said. "Some may also be looking at Vista's delayed release and reassessing their own plans in light of that delay."

    He noted that Vista's delay was announced around the time the survey was conducted. "I think that was a factor," he said.

    VanDyke Software also commissioned Amplitude Research to conduct a simultaneous, separate survey of 252 network and system administrators working in the computer hardware, software and telecommunications industries.

    "The findings suggest a high level of segmentation regarding adoption plans, with 67.04% of the 252 respondents indicating that they would deploy Vista," Birnkrant said. "Why the percentage of those planning to deploy Vista is higher in these sectors, I couldn't tell you."

    One factor in the overall response may be that IT professionals are reluctant to put all their security eggs in one basket. Vista has been touted as an upgrade with a number of built-in security features, but according to the survey, more than 90% of respondents said they prefer a mix of security tools. Specifically, only about 8% said they rely on a single-source vendor to assemble their arsenals of information-security tools, while 90.58% said they "mix-and-match" from multiple sources.

    But Birnkrant doubts those responses had anything to do with Vista. "I'm not convinced the security tools in Vista are the same tools people were thinking of when they answered the single-source security questions," he said.

    This article originally appeared on

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