Wales steers clear of Vista

Welsh Assembly's upgrade years away...

Welsh Assembly's upgrade years away...

The Welsh Assembly will not upgrade its computers to Windows Vista for at least three years.

The Welsh governing body is three-quarters of the way through an upgrade to Windows XP that will be completed in 2009, according to CIO Dr Michael Harrington.

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The authority began upgrading from the Windows NT4 operating system in 2004 and Harrington said the authority, which employs 6,000 staff, did not feel ready to make the leap to Vista.

Harrington told silicon.com: "We did consider jumping straight to Vista but felt that it was too early."

He added that there were a range of concerns, including incompatibility with existing equipment because of a lack of driver support.

"We felt that it was pretty new when we were looking at it and we did not want to be at the forefront of introducing that software.

"We are not planning another upgrade now for another three to four years," he said.

Speaking at the Gartner IT Security Summit in London on Tuesday, he also described how the assembly had nominated 16 "information asset owners" that were helping transform the way staff transported and protected its data.

Information asset owners are members of staff within a department who improve data protection by educating colleagues on issues such as how to transport sensitive information.

He admitted the assembly had lost a few laptops but said it had never mislaid personal data and said its asset owners were working with staff to decrease its security risk rating.

The number of staff at the assembly grew by 40 per cent in 2006 after it merged with a number of government-sponsored bodies, adding to the challenges in protecting information, he said.