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Eight out of 10 — 82% — of the over 600 respondents to ITIC’s 2014-2015 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey say security issues negatively impact overall server, operating system and network reliability. Of that figure a 53% majority of those polled say that security vulnerabilities and hacks have a “moderate,” “significant” or “crucial impact on network availability and uptime (See Exhibit 1).

Overall, the latest ITIC survey results showed that organizations are still more reactive than proactive regarding security threats. Some 15% of the over 600 global corporate respondents are extremely lax: some seven percent said that security issues have no impact on their environment while another eight percent indicated that they don’t keep track of whether or not security issues negatively affect the uptime and availability of their networks. In contrast, 24% of survey participants or one-in-four said security has a “significant” or “crucial” negative impact on network reliability and performance.

Still, despite the well documented and high profile hacks into companies like Target, eBay, Google and other big name vendors this year, the survey found that seven-out-of-10 firms – 70% – are generally confident in the security of their hardware, software and applications – until they get hacked.

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For the sixth year in a row, corporate enterprise users said IBM server hardware delivered the highest levels of reliability/uptime among 14 server hardware and 11 different server hardware virtualization platforms. A 58% majority of IBM servers achieved “five nines” or 99.999% availability – the equivalent of 5.25 minutes of unplanned per server downtime compared to 46% of Hewlett-Packard servers and 40% of Oracle server hardware.

Those are the results of the latest independent ITIC 2014 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability Survey which polled C-level executives and IT managers at over 600 organizations worldwide during March and April 2014.

The survey results showed that the overall reliability HP’s servers increased significantly in 2014 compared to the 2012 and 2013 polls and surpassing the uptime of rival Oracle servers which remained the same or declined slightly compared to prior polls. Cisco Systems, Inc.’s Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, which appeared for the first time in this year’s ITIC Reliability poll, made a very strong showing, posting uptime equal to or better than HP (depending on the category) and bested only by IBM server reliability. Half – 50% – of Cisco UCS server hardware users said they achieved 99.999% of per server/per annum availability.

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IBM AIX v7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Highest Security Marks

Nine out of 10 — 90% — of the 470 respondents to ITIC’s 2010-2011 Global Server Hardware and Server OS Reliability survey rated the security of Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008 R2 and IBM’s AIX v7 as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” This was the highest security ratings out of 18 different Server Operating System distributions (See Exhibit below). Three-quarters or 75% of survey participants gave HP UX 11i v3 “Excellent” or “Very Good” security ratings; this was the third highest ranking of the 18 major server OS distributions polled. This was followed by Ubuntu Server 10 and Debian GNU/Linux 5, which tied for fourth. Seven out of 10 survey participants — 71% — of those polled ranked the two most popular open source distributions’ security as “Excellent” or “Very Good.” Red Hat Enterprise Linux v 5.5 and Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11, the two most widely deployed Linux distributions trailed Debian and Ubuntu but were nearly tied with each other in security rankings. Just over two-thirds — 67% — of Red Hat users rated its security as “Excellent or Very Good” while 66% of survey participants judging Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise 11 security to be “Excellent” or “Very Good.”

Some 58% of Apple Mac OS X 10.6 survey respondents rated its security as “Excellent” or “Very Good,” putting it at the bottom of the pack, beating only Oracle’s Solaris 10 which was rated “Excellent” or “Very Good” by 63% of respondents, which in the past two years has been notching modest gains among corporate users.

Also noteworthy was the fact that only a very small percentage of respondents gave thumbs down “Poor” or “Unsatisfactory” security grades to their server operating system vendors. In this category, Apple had the highest percentage of respondents – 7% — who gave its Mac OS X 10.6 both “Poor” and “Unsatisfactory” marks. This might appear puzzling to some since Apple’s users have long touted the security of the platform. Apple users have long boasted about the fact that there are far fewer viruses and malicious code written targeting Macs compared to Windows. However, now that Apple is once again re-emerging as a significant presence in corporate networks, the Mac OS X 10.6 will no longer enjoy the “security by obscurity” that it claimed as a standalone consumer OS. Macs, iPhones, iPads and tablets are becoming mainstream staples as business tools. Hence, the number of exploits, including such malware as worms, Trojans and bots that target the Mac is increasing commensurately. Apple will have to respond accordingly with tighter security.

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