Microsoft plans to focus on rapid acquisitions to quickly build its
security capabilities, the company said this week.
acquisitions, such as Winternals and virtual private network (VPN)
specialist Whale Communications, will help Microsoft build a comprehensive range
of integrated services that cover every aspect of security, according to Gopal
Kutwaroo, Microsoft's U.K. security product manager.
"Our strategy is clear. We don't do point solutions but (rather) are trying
to create integrative services, with products and solutions that work right
across the computing environment," Kutwaroo said.
Speedy acquisitions, combined with organic growth, will continue to be a
mainstay of Microsoft's security strategy, Kutwaroo said. "Acquisitions are
locked into building our capability...There's an appetite for (fitting) the
right part into the [existing] bed of technology."
Microsoft bought Whale for its Internet Protocol security technology skills.
Whale's SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption particularly interested the
software giant, as it complements the company's application layer firewall,
virtual private network and Web cache software, ISA Server 2006, according to
Microsoft's business security product, previously known as Microsoft Client
Protection, was renamed Forefront in June.
"We're looking at a defense-in-depth strategy for client edge and server
environments," Kutwaroo said. "FrontBridge will provide mail archiving and
content filtering in the cloud, while the Sybari
Software acquisition (in February 2005) has provided Antigen
(e-mail antivirus technology)."
Many of Microsoft's business security products will be integrated into
Windows Vista, due next year.
"We will lock Vista down as much as we can. We hope Vista won't have too many
security disadvantages, but if it does, we will address those as fast as we can"
through Microsoft security products, Kutwaroo said.
Security analyst Andy Buss of Canalys predicted that Microsoft would have a
bigger impact on the consumer market with its OneCare security service than in
the business arena with Forefront.
"Microsoft is not proven in the enterprise security space," Buss said. "It
will take longer to penetrate large businesses, which are naturally cautious."
According to Kutwaroo, Microsoft's general strategy for acquisitions is "held
tightly with Redmond." However, the technology giant may acquire more security
companies and is looking to its partnership program to extend its market.
"Microsoft is very interested in growth. Microsoft is looking at potential
partners very carefully to make sure they have a total capability," Kutwaroo
said. "There have been a lot of acquisitions in the server, edge and cloud
spaces. I imagine we'll see developments in best-of-breed client protection."
Gartner fellow and Microsoft specialist David Mitchell-Smith predicted that
there would be no huge acquisitions, but instead that Microsoft would focus on
the "little companies in the Web 2.0 space."