Stephenson Harwood chooses XP over Vista for stability

International law firm Stephenson Harwood has chosen Windows XP over Vista in its latest desktop refresh, in order to maintain compatibility with its existing suite of applications.

International law firm Stephenson Harwood has chosen Windows XP over Vista in its latest desktop refresh, in order to maintain compatibility with its existing suite of applications.

Chris Petrie, director of IT at Stephenson Harwood, said that many applications used in the legal industry do not yet support Vista. Choosing XP over Vista is part of a strategy to ensure that the IT system remains stable, he said.

“We are going through a major refresh, changing a lot of software. We have had a very good IT culture here with very good uptime. It is down to our attention to detail and using well-tested products.

“There is a lot of me-too stuff going on in this industry, but we look for stability. If lawyers are not working, they are not able to generate fee income,” said Petrie.  The firm, which is part-way through its desktop upgrade, plans to migrate from Novell Groupwise and eDirectory to Microsoft Exchange with Active Directory.

It will also adopt Intel’s vPro hardware chip-based security technology to secure desktops and laptops.  The law firm is also deploying VMware’s virtualisation platform in a bid to cut electricity use. “We had heat and power issues and also wanted to be greener and demonstrate corporate responsibility, and where possible, simplify the infrastructure,” said Petrie.

In parallel with the software refresh, Stephenson Harwood introduced SecureWave’s Sanctuary application last December. The security software enables only authorised devices to connect to a network, laptop or PC, and only authorised applications to execute on the network.

As a result of using Sactuary, helpdesk call rates have been reduced as users experienced fewer application problems, said Petrie. 

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