commentary Can Microsoft turn security from a liability to an asset?
According to Ina Fried, a senior reporter with ZDNet
Australia's sister site CNET News.com, the software
heavyweight is looking at ways to
get a more concrete return on its investment -- both technical and marketing -- in security.
While Microsoft's efforts in security have gone a long way
towards protecting and reassuring its customers, the company is
now looking to ramp up its efforts to make money from the area.
Redmond's initiatives include the forthcoming Client
Protection software designed to defend business desktops, laptops
and file servers against malicious code attacks and enhanced
security features in the Vista operating system update.
The shift in thinking comes just four years after Bill Gates
launched the Trusted Computing Initiative and underlines the
capability of Microsoft to
transform a weakness into a strength.
However, the vendor must tread a little carefully when it comes
to looking at security as a multi-billion dollar opportunity
rather than a threat. While Redmond's market dominance can
occasionally give it tin-ear syndrome when it comes to listening
to its customers, the company must take heed of the ill will
security difficulties are continuing to generate.
Aggrieved businesses may point out to their Microsoft account managers
that the company should be fixing the security problems in its
existing product set. Looking instead to use security to squeeze
more cash from its customers could be construed as a slap in the face.
The harsh reality is that Microsoft's monthly security update
continues to include a welter of new patches for existing
problems. (Its most-recent update comprised seven fixes, including
a "critical" patch for a Windows Meta File vulnerability in
Your writer is willing to bet that information and
communications technology (ICT) buyers will just once again look
at the value-for-money and fitness-for-purpose equation and
grudgingly get out the chequebook. After all, what choice do they
What do you think? Should Microsoft treat improving security
as an obligation to its customers rather than a revenue
opportunity? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know.
Iain Ferguson is the News Editor of ZDNet Australia.