Microsoft, security and the road ahead

Thursday, 30 October 2003, 11:25 AM EST

Microsoft officials are promising computer users more help in solving security threats that have plagued users of the company's best-known products. But Microsoft will rely on third-party vendors to provide at least some of the solutions. Microsoft announced its new strategies for securing its products in a series of low-key media advisories and keynote addresses earlier this month.

Users won't get improved security without rolling up their sleeves and taking a more active role in learning about security issues. But Microsoft said it will make this process easier and more efficient. Corporate users will have to attend security seminars and take in-depth training courses to learn how to work the new security tweaks. Home users will still have to keep up with software patches on a monthly basis. All users will have to redouble their own efforts to apply firewall and antivirus software.

By seeking help from other software companies it calls its partners, Microsoft could be symbolically whispering "uncle" as it struggles to put a new spin on its inability to plug security holes in its products. Michael Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's security business unit, said in a written statement that Microsoft's partners will play a big role in hardening its products against security holes and intrusions.

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