Prepping for Patching

Tomorrow is the day IT folks all know and don't love. Yes, folks, it's almost Patch Tuesday already (seems like the last one was only a month ago, doesn't it?).

Get your crew ready, as a cool dozen bulletins are set for release. So far, there is no word on whether we should expect Vista patches, or fixes for the Word and Excel zero-day exploits.

Vista Vulnerable Via Vendors
Microsoft is a bit like the Boston Celtics -- they just can't win. Here Redmond goes and builds a desktop operating system it believes is as secure as any (well, maybe not DOS), only to have critics complain that Vista can be hacked by attacking third-party programs. For instance, ARCserve Backup from CA is just one source of buffer overflow attacks, security experts say.

The problem, according to our own Security Watch newsletter author Russ Cooper, is that old versions of software don't avail themselves of new Vista security features. I'm not sure if updating to Vista, updating all your hardware and buying new versions of all third parties is quite what IT is looking for.

Moving to the Forefront
I'm not a fan of Microsoft's entry into the security market, at least when it moves into areas that were pioneered by third parties that fixed holes Microsoft should have plugged in the first place. But it is hard to argue with a complete solution, no matter who it comes from, and that is what Microsoft's Forefront is fast becoming.

At the recent RSA security show in San Francisco, Microsoft announced a management console to watch and control a variety of Forefront tools, whether they protect desktops, Exchange or SharePoint.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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