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Customs CIO: Vista gives our staff PCs that work

Australian Customs' chief information officer, Murray Harrison, says the department has almost completed rolling out Vista to its 6,000 PCs, and has improved security for its laptop fleet using Microsoft's encryption tool, Bitlocker.

Australian Customs' chief information officer, Murray Harrison, says the department has almost completed rolling out Vista to its 6,000 PCs, and has improved security for its laptop fleet using Microsoft's encryption tool, Bitlocker.

"We've got a new desktop environment and have rolled out Vista to the desktop. We're almost three quarters of the way through," said Harrison, speaking at Gartner Symposium 2007 yesterday.

Earlier this year Customs announced its One Office project, which aimed to simplify its operating environment and replace the department's Windows 2000 NT operating platform for its desktops.

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Customs has reduced the number of standards in its operating environment from 35 to one, leaving it "very Microsoft-centric", said Harrison. It has also deployed Microsoft's Bitlocker -- a tool that encrypts and decrypts hard drives to aid the safe disposal of old hardware and reduce the risk of data leakage from lost laptops -- for its laptops, which form half of Customs' PC environment, he said.

"Bitlocker fits very well with our laptops and is useful for remote access," said Harrison.

However the fundamental issue, according to Harrison, is that the rollout of Vista has given staff "a computer that works". "Give someone a thing that works, and you've done your job," he said.

Customs brought its PC and LAN environment in-house after axing its decade long single-supplier outsourcing arrangement with EDS.