Redmond's Client Protection a Good Bet

By Steven Warren

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Microsoft is on the cusp of releasing their desktop security products to the corporate world. This suite is Microsoft Client Protection (MCP) and it is designed to meet the security needs of corporate desktops and servers.

Microsoft has already been very successful with its beta consumer-desktop security product, Windows OneCare Live. OneCare is a subscription-based model that handles your antivirus/antispyware protection, combined with PC health tools such as automatic defrag and the ability to back up your system.

And, now that they have tackled the consumer industry, they want to make headway in the corporate sector by taking on security giants like Symantec, Trend Micro, and McAfee.

The good news, for end-users anyway, is MCP will meet your corporate server and desktop security needs. I believe this subscription-based web services model is really going to be a breakaway hit for the Redmond giant.

MCP differs from the consumer version in that it is made for the corporate world, protecting corporate desktop computers and servers from viruses, spyware, and rootkits. MCP will also tie directly into your Active Directory infrastructure and provide your company with a central management for overall administration. Furthermore, it will integrate seamlessly within your Microsoft infrastructure.

If you have an existing software distribution, MCP can fully take advantage of it. If you do not currently own a software distribution package, Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) will be bundled with MCP.

Many of you are already tied tightly to Microsoft products. And, since you probably have license agreements set up with Microsoft, it makes good business sense to allow Microsoft products to handle your security. You may also be better off financially going with MCP as Microsoft may cut you a licensing deal for running multiple products.

As far as I am concerned, moving towards a product like this is an easy sell if most of your infrastructure contains Microsoft server and desktop products.

Implementation is often a sticking point when adding a new product or service. We all dislike lengthy implementations because it takes your staff away from other important issues or forces you to spend unwanted consulting dollars.

With MCP, you can easily take advantage of the Microsoft-savvy employees you have on hand to help implement MCP into your environment. You will not have to get training and buy-in from your IT staff to learn a whole new security product or way of thinking.

MCP is a win-win solution to your security needs for everyone from management to IT Administrators, and down to the corporate desktop user. Give them what they are used to in order to make their lives integrate easily into this product without excessive training.

On the hardware side, MCP requires Windows 2003 Server SP1 or Windows 2000 Server SP4. The software is aimed to protect Windows 2000 SP4, Window XP SP2 or later, Windows 2003, and Windows Vista\Longhorn Server.

On the downside, MCP is not currently available. When it does debut in the first or second half of 2006, many will implement due to its seamless integration and ease-of-use.

Let's be honest, if your IT staff could spend less time on viruses, malware, and spyware and more time on other mission critical IT needs, wouldn’t you make the leap?

Steven Warren is an IT consultant for the Ultimate Software Group and a freelance technical writer who has been a regular contributor to TechRepublic, TechProGuild, CNET, ZDNET, DatabaseJournal.com and, now, CIO Update. He is the author of "The VMware Workstation 5.0 Handbook" and holds the following certifications: MCDBA, MCSE, MCSA, CCA, CIW-SA, CIW-MA, Network+, and i-Net+.