IT will avoid Windows 8, despite security improvements

Windows 8 will struggle to catch on with businesses, according to recent surveys. Apparently many organizations would rather stick with the 11-year-old Windows XP than upgrade. 

Nearly three quarters (74%) of businesses currently have no plans to deploy Windows 8, according to a recent Tech Republic survey of 1,200 IT pros.

Things could change in the future, as only 23% have made a firm decision to avoid Windows 8 at all costs. Half of respondents said they have no to plans to upgrade but may reconsider down the road.

Just 11% expect to make the switch to Windows 8 within the next year, with the rest waiting for the first service pack or a yet-to-be-determined time frame.

Surprisingly, the rapidly approaching end of support for Windows XP hasn’t convinced organizations using that OS to upgrade. Just 16% of businesses running XP plan to deploy Windows 8, compared to half of Vista organizations and 30% of those that are running the more popular Windows 7.

IT’s love for XP could be the biggest factor that keeps Windows 8 out of the enterprise. According to Tech Republic, 43% of businesses still run XP on at least three-quarters of their PCs. That’s down from 56% the previous year, but still more than you’d expect considering support for the OS will finally end in less than two years.

Despite the security dangers of running an unsupported OS, the top reason survey respondents gave for their lack of a plan for Windows 8: There’s no clear business need to upgrade to a new operating system.

Windows 8 security highly rated

The news isn’t all bad for Microsoft, though. Apparently, organizations do care about OS security. That was the top driver cited by respondents that will upgrade to Windows 8.

And, despite the many negative Windows 8 reviews, most experts have pointed to security as one of the OS’s strengths. In particular, Windows 8 features an improved version of Microsoft’s Windows Defender, according to a report from security firm BitDefender.

In a test, a machine running Windows 8 with Windows Defender enabled successfully blocked 324 out of 385 malware samples — or 85% — from running. In comparison, Windows Defender on Windows 7 blocked just 123 samples, or 32%.

Some IT pros and tech experts have pointed out other benefits of Windows 8 — including its potential to streamline BYOD and the rise of mobile computing by giving users one platform that works across multiple devices.