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Windows Patch Security Tops IT Pro Concerns

System security concerns did not diminish among IT pros in 2015, but mobile was deemed less problematic, according to an industry survey.

Those two notions come from Shavlik's annual survey of IT professionals, announced on Monday. The number of participants involved in the survey wasn't described. Shavlik is a provider of software security and patch management solutions.

Shavlik's 2015 study found that 58 percent of IT pros were more concerned about system security than they were in 2014. And they weren't an optimistic bunch, either. For instance, 53 percent expected to be more worried about system security in 2016.

Most of the respondents (86 percent) felt that patching Microsoft's operating systems represented their "most consistent patching challenge." The need to carry out "on-demand patching" was seen as a pain point by 41 percent of the respondents.

The 86 percent of respondents who said they were challenged by patching Windows systems represented a 33 percent spike over last year's survey response on that matter. However, according to Shavlik's analysis, this spike isn't necessarily due to Windows 10, with its faster and more frequent update release cycles, which has upset traditional IT pro patch rhythms. Shavlik instead attributed the spike to an uptick of sophisticated attacks in 2015.

"The increase in Microsoft-associated risk may be a result of the poor level of Windows 10 updates for businesses, integrating a general feeling of lack of control and selection," said Andy Baldin, vice president of EMEA at Shavlik, in a released statement. "However, I believe that the spate of recent cyber-attacks has given organisations an indication of the sophistication and tenacity of hackers."

On the application side of things, 58 percent of the respondents saw Java as a patch worry.

On the other hand, mobile patching concerns were trending down markedly, per Shavlik's survey. Whereas mobile patching was a concern for 91 percent of IT pros in 2014, it was seen as a concern by just 17 percent in 2015.

Baldin attributed the diminished mobile patch concerns to a less siloed approach organizations have been taking when managing mobile devices. Instead, they have adopted "IT strategies that cover all types of devices," he said.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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