Network administrators have turned to Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system because of its enhanced security features, according to a new study.

Amplitude Research's fourth annual enterprise security survey, commissioned by vendor VanDyke Software highlighted the growing use of secure file transfers in security-conscious organisations.

According to Steve Birnkrant, CEO of Amplitude, 52.3 per cent of Vista adopters were motivated by the security-related features - such as the improved firewall and anti-spyware functions - in Microsoft's newest operating system.

Even though Microsoft's User Account Control (UAC) has received poor reviews from security researchers, another 14 per cent of respondents said Vista's limited account capability was their most pressing reason for switching to Vista, noted Birnkrant.

He called 2007 a "breakout year" for Secure Shell, a telnet alternative, for file transfers within enterprises. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of responding systems and network administrators - said that their organisations require a secure file-transfer method when exchanging sensitive data between remote offices. That figure rose significantly from 52 per cent last year.

In addition, 73 per cent said their enterprises are using a secure method of file transfer when exchanging sensitive data with customers, vendors and suppliers. That figure jumped from 60 per cent a year ago.

"People have finally focused on secure file transfer and decreasing their reliance on telnet," said Birnkrant.

Legislative demands did not play a significant role in the increase of secure file-transfer methods. In fact, only 29 per cent reported that legislative requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley or the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) had had the greatest impact on IT security planning; 45 per cent said that customer or vendor demands had played the largest role.

The report also noted that 63 per cent said their organisation has budgeted sufficiently to support their IT security needs. Less than half (49 per cent) felt this way in 2006.