Vista: CIOs' First Impressions

By Robert Hertzberg  |  Posted 12-01-2006

The enterprise version of Windows Vista is now available, but many companies will not immediately discard XP and upgrade to Microsoft's latest operating system.

That's the consensus of chief information officers and consultants who have been evaluating Vista in recent months. Most big companies will wait at least a year before deploying Vista to make sure the operating system is stable and that third-party applications work well with it, the beta testers say.

Five years in the making, Vista is, among other things, Microsoft's attempt to address the security holes in its previous operating systems. By adding features for blocking unauthorized Internet downloads and automating encryption of hard drives, Microsoft hopes to curtail the viruses plaguing corporate XP users and mitigate the impact of laptop theft.

"It's certainly the most secure operating system they've released to date," says Erik Schmidt, a technical manager at the University of Florida, which has been evaluating Vista on more than 50 PCs as part of Microsoft's Technology Adoption Program.

Robert Taylor, chief information officer of Fulton County, Ga., says Vista's user account control feature, which administrators can use to prevent the installation of unauthorized applications, will allow the county to cut back on the 24,000 hours it spends each year cleaning up infected machines. That will translate into about $750,000 in cost savings, he says.

Of course, with the final version of Vista Enterprise Edition just now out the door, relatively few users have had a chance to test Vista's security features in the environments where its flaws would be most costly. "I have a trust-but-verify posture," says Matt Miszewski, chief information officer for the state of Wisconsin, who oversees 64,000 desktop systems. He says it would be a mistake to believe Microsoft has solved all of its security problems.

Read the full story on Baseline: Vista: CIOs' First Impressions