Last week, as part of the most recent job cuts at Microsoft (2,100 to be exact), it was reported that the company is shuttering its 12 year Trustworthy Computing initiative. You might remember, Microsoft was a pioneer in this area, facing the growing threat of OS and product security head-on. In 2002, Bill Gates wrote the now famous memo bringing Trustworthy Computing to the fore.
The shuttering of the Trustworthy Computing group is as yet unannounced publicly, but the reports show that the group will be merged into either the Cloud and Enterprise division, or its Legal and Corporate Affairs group. Or, it could quite possibly be a mixture of both.
With Bill Gates’ initial plea for better security, availability, and privacy of its products, the company developed procedures and policies designed to protect customers. Part of that strategy included what we call Patch Tuesday today.
Patch Tuesday has become a staple for all modern businesses and IT practices. In large organizations, entire teams are assigned to receive the gaggle of patches each month, test them, and deliver them in a timely manner. But, as of late, Microsoft’s released patches have been less than “trustworthy,” causing many customers to delay delivering and installing critical security updates by weeks and sometimes months due to reported problems like OS bluescreens and losses of product functionality. In a recent survey here on Windows IT Pro, an overwhelming 64% of respondents say that Microsoft’s update problems have caused them to alter long-standing patching policies, extending the time to deliver essential security updates.
The process is in serious need of fixing. And, maybe Microsoft has been listening, after all. Maybe, this is the first step. I seriously doubt that the actual initiative of Trustworthy Computing has just died on the vine, but rather just how Microsoft will continue to deliver it. Handing over responsibility of patches to the various product groups might engender ownership for doing good job or a poor one, and make Microsoft’s update trustworthy again.
We’ll see, but at least it appears that the company is taking notice and doing something.
What say you? Is this evidence of Microsoft attempting to fix a growing problem?
Incidentally, with 2,100 more jobs gone at Microsoft that leaves just 2,900 more for Satya to achieve his communicated 18,000 overall.