Is Microsoft Finally Taking Security Seriously?

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Modernizing Authentication - What It Takes to Transform Secure Access

With the launch of "Stirling," Microsoft is looking to put the silver lining on the security cloud.

For some time now, the channel has always had a problem putting the words security and Microsoft together in a sentence. Whether or not Microsoft deserves the reputation for a lack of secure products is a debate that rages on throughout the industry; it all comes down to perception.

People today perceive Microsoft's products as unsecure and are adding third-party security applications and security appliances to protect their data, from either real threats or perceived ones.

That has created a great deal of opportunity for the channel and solution providers in particular. The simple fact of the matter is that security can be a profitable business for vendors, distributors and channel partners alike.

Microsoft has dabbled in security products for some time, but mostly as applications that are bundled with operating systems or other products, but that is about to change. Microsoft is rolling out a public beta of a security suite of tools under the code name of Stirling.

When Stirling starts shipping, the official name of the product will become Microsoft Forefront, a name that many security professionals are already familiar with. Although the name may sound familiar, the underlying technology has changed significantly, as well as the ideology of security at Microsoft.

Although Forefront won't bring anything earth-shattering to the security market, the product does push the envelope when it comes to unifying security and simplifying management. Microsoft has taken the view that if security is hard to manage then it is most likely to be used ineffectively.

The first product that will be available under the Forefront banner will be Forefront Client Security, which combines several security technologies, such as anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-phishing, desktop firewall and NAP (Network Access Protection) into a single client product.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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