October 6, 2005 3:28 PM PDT

FAQ: Inside Microsoft's Client Protection

Thursday's announcement of Microsoft's Client Protection software marks the company's long-anticipated entry into the market for desktop security products for businesses.

Microsoft faces a tough battle as it competes with established players, including Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

Analysts have criticized Microsoft for being vague about its security product plans. The software maker said Thursday that over the past couple years, it has focused on securing its existing products and improving patching for customers. "Now the effort is shifting to deliver a new generation of security products," said Debby Fry Wilson, director of security engineering and communications.

So what is Client Protection? We'll try to tackle that question below.

What is Microsoft's new security software?
Microsoft Client Protection is software for business PCs and file servers that's designed to offer, in one application, protection against spyware, viruses and root kits. The company says its software will offer IT administrators central management capabilities and that it'll work with the company's Active Directory and Windows Server Updates Services patch management tool.

How is it different from Windows OneCare?
Windows OneCare is the consumer equivalent of Microsoft Client Protection. OneCare has been available to beta testers since earlier this year and will combine antivirus and anti-spyware protection with PC health tools. The consumer product lacks enterprise necessities such as central management. Microsoft said Thursday that a final version of OneCare is due in 2006. It will be sold on a subscription basis. Pricing has not been disclosed.

What is the security technology behind Microsoft Client Protection?
The upcoming product will be built on an enhanced version of the GeCad antivirus software Microsoft acquired in 2003 and the Giant Company Software anti-spyware product it bought in late 2004.

What about Windows AntiSpyware?
Windows AntiSpyware is software that's designed to protect consumer PCs against, of course, spyware. It's based on technology Microsoft acquired from Giant. Windows AntiSpyware has been available in beta test version since January, and the company is expected to deliver a final version in 2006. Microsoft has said the tool will be free.

What does Microsoft Client Protection compete with?
The new product will be up against enterprise security products from established players such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro. Microsoft's product is unproven, and it will take time to allay years of skepticism among business users before the market will accept the offering, Merrill Lynch analysts said Thursday.

What systems will Microsoft Client Protection run on?
It will run on Windows XP and its successor, Windows Vista, which is due late 2006. (Vista was previously known by its Longhorn code name.)

How much will it cost?
Microsoft has not yet disclosed pricing or licensing details. Client Protection will likely be sold on a license basis, as opposed to a subscription model.

When will it be available?
A "limited beta" is due by year's end. Microsoft is sending mixed messages about when a final version of the product will ship. Fry Wilson declined on Thursday to specify a delivery target for Client Protection, but a document published to the Microsoft Web site Thursday shows a 2006 ship target. (Download Word document.)

When will more details be available?
Microsoft says it expects to be able to provide more information in the coming months.

12 comments

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Classic Protection Racket
Cause trouble and charge your victims money for protection.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
I hate to say it, but I hate the idea of a company selling something that fixes problems in its product. To me it is like a car company selling a car with a hole in its fuel tank, but providing a cork at extra cost.

The problem is that it reduces motivation for the company fix the problem.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Classic Protection Racket
Cause trouble and charge your victims money for protection.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
I hate to say it, but I hate the idea of a company selling something that fixes problems in its product. To me it is like a car company selling a car with a hole in its fuel tank, but providing a cork at extra cost.

The problem is that it reduces motivation for the company fix the problem.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Great Marketing - Bad Security
Steve Ballmer and Rob Enderle will tell you whatever you want to hear...

but in the end, you will be the one who pays for their mistakes and lies.

educate yourselves or get out your wallet.

1st lesson: Linux can help.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Great Marketing - Bad Security
Steve Ballmer and Rob Enderle will tell you whatever you want to hear...

but in the end, you will be the one who pays for their mistakes and lies.

educate yourselves or get out your wallet.

1st lesson: Linux can help.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm jumping off the deep end.
Ok be forwarned that I am going to jump off the deep end here.

I don't think Microsoft should be able to include any of it's software with the OS (IE, WMP, Anti-Spyware, Antivirus, etc). Further more I don't believe they shouldn't be allowed to give away any software out side of promotional venues for retailers, partners, etc. Microsoft and companies like Microsoft should be forced to compete fairly. In the case of Microsoft they should not be allowed to include software for free in their OS or allow it to be downloaded when the equivalent is available to purchase by their competition.

Now that I'm back from the deep end. I realize that laws or regulations that would do all that would have a much greater impact on all markets than it's potential benifit to fairing up big business sales. It's unfortunate that any company can squash competition by giving away the same tools that others have to sell. But the law works the same for them as it does for you and me. They can just afford better lawyers and lobbiest.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm jumping off the deep end.
Ok be forwarned that I am going to jump off the deep end here.

I don't think Microsoft should be able to include any of it's software with the OS (IE, WMP, Anti-Spyware, Antivirus, etc). Further more I don't believe they shouldn't be allowed to give away any software out side of promotional venues for retailers, partners, etc. Microsoft and companies like Microsoft should be forced to compete fairly. In the case of Microsoft they should not be allowed to include software for free in their OS or allow it to be downloaded when the equivalent is available to purchase by their competition.

Now that I'm back from the deep end. I realize that laws or regulations that would do all that would have a much greater impact on all markets than it's potential benifit to fairing up big business sales. It's unfortunate that any company can squash competition by giving away the same tools that others have to sell. But the law works the same for them as it does for you and me. They can just afford better lawyers and lobbiest.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All rubbish
As long as these apps keep on working with blacklists, they will always be running behind the virus makers.

Working with whitelists would be a good start. Only allow approved applications to run, and there will probably be no more virus able to execute on your machine. Of course it means you'll have to educate your PC...
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Okay, sort of...
Steve, though this sounds great initially, there is an inherent
problem with this method. That is absolutely not to say there are
not ways around this, but it places control on one or a select few
organizations to maintain a whitelist, which gives them the
control completely. So, the question is this, what would happen
if the controlling agent of the whitelist was Microsoft? What if it
was another company? Self-interests will always come ahead of
whatever may be for the greater good of the people affected by
the whitelist. This means that if Microsoft or any other company
controlled this whitelist, it would be squarely in the eyes of
those that aim to persuade or manipulate that list, much like a
lobbyist or a even that company's sales efforts. In a more
trustworthy world, I would be all for your idea, but then if it were
more trustworthy, maybe we would not be in this mess at all.

But, I want to add on last thing. THis is the best thing we can do
though. Coming up with ideas, rather than just taking it as the
way the world is going to be is the right track. Too many have
already given up the fight and just submit to what is going on.
To all of those that are willing to take the time, energy,
resources, etc. to try to find solutions, I commend you all. It is
about time we saw another leap forward in both thinking, and
responsibility.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Link Flag
All rubbish
As long as these apps keep on working with blacklists, they will always be running behind the virus makers.

Working with whitelists would be a good start. Only allow approved applications to run, and there will probably be no more virus able to execute on your machine. Of course it means you'll have to educate your PC...
Posted by Steven N (487 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Okay, sort of...
Steve, though this sounds great initially, there is an inherent
problem with this method. That is absolutely not to say there are
not ways around this, but it places control on one or a select few
organizations to maintain a whitelist, which gives them the
control completely. So, the question is this, what would happen
if the controlling agent of the whitelist was Microsoft? What if it
was another company? Self-interests will always come ahead of
whatever may be for the greater good of the people affected by
the whitelist. This means that if Microsoft or any other company
controlled this whitelist, it would be squarely in the eyes of
those that aim to persuade or manipulate that list, much like a
lobbyist or a even that company's sales efforts. In a more
trustworthy world, I would be all for your idea, but then if it were
more trustworthy, maybe we would not be in this mess at all.

But, I want to add on last thing. THis is the best thing we can do
though. Coming up with ideas, rather than just taking it as the
way the world is going to be is the right track. Too many have
already given up the fight and just submit to what is going on.
To all of those that are willing to take the time, energy,
resources, etc. to try to find solutions, I commend you all. It is
about time we saw another leap forward in both thinking, and
responsibility.
Posted by jasonemanuelson1 (82 comments )
Link Flag
 

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