Microsoft Security Investments

Last week, Microsoft announced that the company will purchase Sybari Software, a company that provides comprehensive anti-virus and malicious-software protection for messaging and collaboration servers, including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft Live Communications Server, as well as other non-Microsoft products (see "Microsoft to Acquire Enterprise Anti-Virus Security Provider Sybari Software" at ). Microsoft Corporate Vice President Mike Nash of Security Business and Technology, says that the acquisition will provide Microsoft customers with "a server-level anti-virus solution that delivers advanced file and content-filtering capabilities and the use of multiple scan engines."

Sybari technology is deeply embedded within the server infrastructure it protects, an architecture that provides high-level security while maintaining reliability and performance. Before the Sybari purchase, Microsoft used Sybari technology extensively on internal systems for several months. An interview with Microsoft CIO Ron Markezich describes some of the company's experiences with the tool and explains why Microsoft decided to purchase Sybari (see "Microsoft's Sybari Experience: How the Antivirus Software Protects Microsoft's Crucial Communication and Collaboration Infrastructure" at ). At this time, Microsoft hasn't announced how it will sell, price, or integrate Sybari technology into Microsoft products.

Microsoft's Sybari acquisition and the Giant Company acquisition I wrote about in "Spyware: An Evolving Threat" ( ) indicate that the company is taking a comprehensive approach to security. That's good news for SQL Server professionals. Sybari doesn't have a SQL Server-specific module, but given Microsoft's recent security purchases, I won't be surprised to see the company build a homegrown SQL Server solution or buy one of the leading providers of threat avoidance for SQL Server.

I readily admit that I'm not a security expert, so I read the white paper "Helping Customers Secure Messaging and Collaboration Infrastructure" at . The paper presents an interesting discussion about how Sybari technology adds protection to a collaboration environment by providing layered defenses, native integration with the server infrastructure, and constant protection from the latest threats. I use various security products to protect my home and business computers. It will be nice if in the future Microsoft products ship with native, robust, easy-to-use security and protection mechanisms that do a better job of protecting my systems than I can do on my own. Microsoft's new spyware-protection software will be free. If the company's virus protection is also free, I wonder what will happen to commodity anti-virus tools like Norton Anti-Virus. Remember Netscape? Me neither

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