CIO Jury: Windows XP Service Pack 2

Not a priority for the majority of our IT chiefs…

Microsoft's long-awaited and much-delayed security update, Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP, has finally been sent off to the manufacturers and will be available to end users from later this month.

The software giant is urging home and enterprise users to update their PCs as soon as it is available to take advantage of a raft of new security features - so we asked our CIO Jury if installing Windows XP SP2 is a priority for them and their organisations.

Two-thirds (eight) of the CIO Jury said SP2 is not a priority, while just a third (four) said it is. Those in the 'no' camp cited concerns about the impact of the update on their existing systems and said they will watch and see how it affects other companies first.

Pete Smith, director of IT and telecoms, Inmarsat, said: "Understanding exactly what's in the service pack and how stable it is will be our first priority. As soon as we have confidence that it does not have any problems, we will implement it to all XP users. However, like most companies, we have a mixed desktop environment and updating only XP users only protects some of our clients."

Time and resources needed for testing SP2 before rolling it out across the company will be a factor, according to Graham Yellowley, director of technology at Tokyo-Mitsubishi bank, who doesn't plan to install it until the fourth quarter this year.

"We have sufficient security measures in place to stop viruses etc reaching the desktop so additional security there is not required. In addition there will need to be a lot of testing to evaluate the changes and differences within SP2 before we build it into our standard build," he said.

Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising agency Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners agreed, although he also welcomed the new security features Microsoft has included.

"It doesn't, however, fix any critical issues for us therefore we will monitor the feedback from the early adopters and combine that with our own testing. The additional security features will give rise to a significant amount of customisation and testing before roll out. A big release from Microsoft which is well focussed, but with a large administrative overhead," he said.

Others, including Dr Stuart Brough, director of IT services at the University of Strathclyde, said SP2 will simply be treated the same as all other updates and rolled into the normal upgrades cycle.

Those who will be treating SP2 as a priority include Henry McNeill, CIO at Telstra Europe. "We are keen to make sure our systems are as secure as possible, but disappointed that it was not secure in the first place. It does create an additional burden and testing of systems."

Steve Anderson, IT partner at construction and property consultancy Davis Langdon, said SP2 will be included in the impending upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP2 at his organisation. "The new features are a positive step forward for the platform and are therefore highly desirable," he said.

Today's CIO Jury was…

Jeremy Acklam, IT director, Virgin Trains
Steve Anderson, IT partner, Davis Langdon
Dr Stuart Brough, director of IT services, University of Strathclyde
Frank Coyle, IT director, John Menzies Distribution
Mark Lichtenhein, director of IT and new media, PGA European Tour
Henry McNeill, CIO, Telstra Europe
Rob Neil, head of ICT services, Ashford Borough Council
Rory O'Boyle, head of IT, The Football Association
Margaret Smith, director of business information systems, Legal & General
Pete Smith, director of IT and telecoms, Inmarsat
Gavin Whatrup, IT director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Tokyo-Mitsubishi

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at