PC Priority: Security Drives Move To Thin Clients And Macs

IT security is ranked as a top priority by 82% of the business-technology managers InformationWeek Research surveyed, more than any other key business concern.



OUTLOOK 2005Year after year, respondents to InformationWeek Research's Outlook survey, part of our quarterly Priorities series, place PCs among the top technologies on their organizations' planned-project lists. 2005 is no exception, with 79% of business-technology managers--more than any other category--considering PCs a top technology priority.

That isn't surprising; most companies have programs to upgrade and replace PCs at regular intervals. Xerox Corp. refreshes employees' PCs every three years, meaning about 10,000 employees get new laptops or desktops each year. But in 2005, unlike the recent past, the $15.7 billion-a-year copier manufacturer and business-consulting company will adopt thin clients, moving many key applications, such as those supporting sales and service personnel, to servers from desktops and laptops. Centralizing software will reduce support costs.

"We're trying to be more efficient and want to do more with less money," says Janice Malaszenko, VP and chief technology officer for information management strategy, architecture, and standards at Xerox.

And by placing key applications on centralized servers, Malaszenko says, Xerox will have better security, because apps aren't scattered among tens of thousands of client devices.

Indeed, IT security is ranked as a top business priority by 82% of the business-technology managers we surveyed, more than any other key business concern. Kelvin Lambright, CFO at Dentech Corp., a small, privately held maker of dental-office chairs, stools, lights, and fixtures, believes his company's Windows-based PCs are too vulnerable to attack. About 200 to 300 times a day, hackers try to infiltrate Dentech's IT system, and Lambright--who doubles as the company's IT chief--has had enough. Late last year, Dentech migrated its four top officers to Apple Computer laptops from PCs, and this year the company will consider making a similar move for the 60 other employees using Windows PCs. "I've had a Mac for three months and haven't had one [hacking] attempt," he says. (For more about companies' 2005 plans for security, see story, "Keep The Focus On Risk.")

The learning curve was minimal, since the company uses Windows Office Suite, which has a Mac version. Dentech's Apples also run Virtual Windows, a software package that allows the Mac to run the client portion of its Windows-based Software 21 enterprise-resource-planning system.

Return to main story, "Outlook 2005: A Strong Foundation"

Illustration by Brad Yeo

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