Despite the ongoing struggle between Apple and the search giant, Google has dumped Windows in favor of Mac and Linux systems -- underlining the inherent security weakness of a mass market OS such as Microsoft Windows.

Industry watchers have been urging larger corporate and enterprise IT shops to move away from dependence on monocultural technology infrastructure for years.

What the experts mean when they say this is that over-reliance on one single operating system is a complete security no-no.

Be the change

While it might raise some piteous whining from your company's tech support department, Google's move away from Windows is a clarion call to diversify in every walk of computing life.

If you run an enterprise, an educational establishment, charity or any other operation in which data security is important it may be wise to emulate the search giant, and make a move to embrace other platforms.

A monocultural approach to technological infrastructure is not only a hangover from Microsoft's previous business practices for monopolistic control of the desktop, but also perhaps the biggest single contributory factor to the millions of security threats we face today.

Let's face it. We live in a security conscious age. We're told to beware hackers, crackers, keyloggers, malware authors, spammers, bots, botnets, security weaknesses, software upgrades, lack of software upgrades, badly secured applications and more.

Market share threat

Windows is frequently reported as the most at risk operating system on strength of its gigantic market share.

With such a large installed base, the thinking goes, outlaw technologists can see larger profits from undermining Windows security.

"We see some 50,000 new malicious samples come into our labs every day," said Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos, Graham Cluley -- 99.9%+ of these are for Windows.

Mac and iPhone users may think they are immune from viruses and malware, however as the operating system becomes more popular more cybercriminals will be attracted to this growing base," warned Symantec's product development director, Con Mallon.

SecureComputing journalist, Munir Kotadia rejects Mallon's market share argument:

"For years now I have heard security companies and analysts claim that Macs are just as vulnerable as Windows and the only reason there is virtually no malware for the Mac is because it has such a tiny market share."

So, why are Macs the most popular laptop at any security conference, he asks...

Common sense

Before the usual comments begin, I'm not saying Mac users are immune to phishing attacks or other tooled attacks, including web-page based attacks -- these account for around three quarters of the security breaches online. Like any computer user Mac users must exercise common sense.

For example, today we see a new warning from Intego which claims spyware is being inadvertently installed by some popular freeware Mac apps.

Even Mac users should take security seriously in order to avoid having banking, email or other vital account details raided.

But what is important is that remaining secure on your Mac doesn't require you adopt a different OS.

The end of monoculture

But this is (at least to my eyes) precisely why Google is shutting down use of Windows in response to when its Chinese operations were hacked.

(Specifically, a Windows computer running IE6 was hacked and used to create a gateway into Google's internal network.)

What this all means is that the days of the Windows monoculture are done.

It is time to embrace the new heterogenous computing environment.

Your next computer might be a Mac, a Linux installed PC or, in future, a Chrome OS-powered laptop.

And that's a good thing.

Note: This blog first appeared on our sister site  Computerworld - read more at - Email Jonny at [email protected]