Microsoft Patches Flaws, Pushes Forefront
Maybe it's a little funny to see both messages at the same time. On one hand,
there've been numerous news stories the past two weeks about Microsoft patching
several critical security flaws
in Windows and now looking into potential
vulnerabilities in Office
. At the same time, the company just announced
enterprise marketing campaign for Forefront
. (In this case, Redmond is using
the "geek" factor
to try to sell businesses on its new Forefront
about this before in RCP magazine, and the issue lives on: It has
to be hard for Microsoft partners to sell Redmond's security applications when
the company's reputation for securing its own products is so...well, let's say
"mixed." And beyond that, Forefront actually takes the mound a few
runs down in this situation: Already, on the anti-virus side, Windows Live OneCare
has made a less-than-stellar debut, even
by Redmond's own admission. We're not questioning Forefront's capabilities
on the enterprise side, just Microsoft's credibility in launching itself as
a security vendor.
After all, the best way for Microsoft to build credibility as a provider of
security applications would be for it to better secure (primarily) Windows and
Office. That's something it has, in general, not really done that bad a job
of doing lately, especially considering the large number of attacks that focus
on those products -- both of which are easy targets with their 90-plus percent
market share. But, of course, the better Microsoft secures its own stuff, the
more businesses (and consumers, for that matter) will wonder why Redmond is
charging them extra for security applications rather than just making security
more of a built-in part of the deal with the Microsoft stack than it already
is. It's a nasty little Catch-22 that partners are going to have to face when
selling Forefront. But you probably know that by now.
So, on the other hand, think about this: Security makes a lot more sense as
a business for Microsoft to get into than, say, search. It's directly tied to
Microsoft's bread and butter, Windows and Office, and despite the presence of
fierce competition in the form of (former partners, and now "coopetitors")
Symantec, Trend Micro, McAfee and others, there is no "security Google"
that has a mortal lock on mindshare in the market. There's revenue there for
the taking -- if Microsoft can find a way to not trip over its own reputation
and leave customers feeling as though they're paying protection money. We suppose
that's why marketing folks get paid the big bucks.
What has been your experience with selling or using Forefront so far? What
do you think of Microsoft's position in the security market? Tell me at email@example.com.
P.S.: Keep those e-mails rolling in. Friday is reader feedback day here at
RCPU. And thanks to those who have already written about a variety of topics.
Posted by Lee Pender on 04/12/2007 at 1:20 PM