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December 4, 2009

UK businesses failing to protect laptops

IT bosses also not looking for early Windows 7 adoption

By Steve Evans

Over half of UK business do not have data encryption in place to protect their laptop fleet, according to a survey by security firm Check Point. The survey also revealed that many IT staff are not planning on upgrading their mobile devices to Windows 7.

The survey quizzed senior IT managers and staff at public and private organisations. Only 41% of respondents said they had data encryption in place on their business laptops while 51% said they did not have encryption, and 8% said they did not know if encryption was in use.

“It’s very surprising that the losses, thefts and malware outbreaks suffered by organisations over the past two years have had such little impact on the way UK organisations secure laptop PCs. These machines are the most vulnerable point in a business’ IT set-up, and yet they remain largely unsecured,” said Nick Lowe, Check Point’s regional director for Northern Europe.

The survey also revealed some surprising figures about whether Windows 7 would drive companies to upgrade their laptop fleet. Microsoft’s latest operating system has been well received and there have been a number of surveys that suggest early adoption would be high.

A survey by desktop and server management firm ScriptLogic revealed that nearly 40% of enterprises planned on having Windows 7 installed within the next year and a similar study by ChangeBASE found that 41% of organisations are planning on making the migration within the next year, while a further 18% expect to make the switch within the next two years.

Check Point’s survey, however, found that 50% of respondents said they had no plans to upgrade to Windows 7 at all while 32% plan to upgrade within the next year and 17% plan to upgrade within the next 12 to 18 months.

“It’s also interesting that the majority of those surveyed are adopting a wait-and-see attitude to Windows 7 – it seems that organisations want to squeeze maximum value from their existing machines,” said Lowe. “But the lack of security on laptops, and the lack of plans to address this, should set alarm bells ringing: it’s only a matter of time before a breach or infection happens to organisations without protection.”

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