Monday, February 5, 2007

Microsoft Outlines "Anywhere Access" Security Vision, New Alliances

In a keynote address at the RSA Conference 2007, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie outlined their vision for secure and easy "anywhere access" based on the concept of trustworthy computing.

"Security is the fundamental challenge that will determine whether we can successfully create a new generation of connected experiences that enable people to have anywhere access to communications, content and information," Gates said.

Gates said Microsoft remains commitment to interoperability and is working with governments, organizations and partners to create and implement industry wide standards that enable systems and applications to work together. Specifically, the company is continuing to work with the industry on the WS-* Web standard and with the Interop Vendor Alliance, a global, cross-industry group of software and hardware vendors.

Highlights of Microsoft's security vision include:

  • Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007 -- a new solution (available in May) that builds on Microsoft's metadirectory and user provisioning capabilities by adding support for managing strong credentials such as certificates and smart cards. ILM aims to manage the entire life cycle of a user identity. Microsoft also unveiled a comprehensive strategy and road map for identity life-cycle management, including planned availability of ILM "2," the next version of ILM, in late 2008.

  • Forefront Server Security Management Console -- a centralized, Web-based management solution for onsite or remote administration of Microsoft messaging and collaboration security solutions. The management solution is the latest in a series of product launches from Microsoft Forefront, a line of business security products designed to help organizations protect their deployed infrastructure from the latest threats and provide more secure access.

  • Support for Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates in Internet Explorer 7 -- the first browser to fully support EV SSL Certificates. When a user visits a site with a valid EV Certificate, Internet Explorer 7 will alert the user to the available identity information by turning the background of the address bar green and displaying identity information. Twelve certificate authorities, including VeriSign Inc., Cybertrust and Entrust, are already issuing EV SSL Certificates.

  • Microsoft Phishing Filter service -- new partners include the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT), BrandProtect, and Netcraft Ltd., whose own broad set of Internet Explorer and Firefox toolbar anti-phishing data sources will be included as data feeds into the service. These new providers join Microsoft's current anti-phishing data providers, which include Cyveillance, Digital Resolve, Internet Identity, MarkMonitor Inc., and RSA Security.

  • New security features in Windows Vista -- including User Account Control, Internet Explorer Protected Mode, Windows Service Hardening, Address Space Layout Randomization and Kernel Patch Protection.

  • Windows Live OneCare -- which delivers PC care with protection and simple PC maintenance.

  • Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007 -- which combines the secure sockets layer virtual private network (SSL VPN) product obtained in the acquisition of Whale Communications in July 2006 with Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server), in a single, consolidated appliance for policy-based secure remote access, endpoint security and application-layer protection.

  • Microsoft NAP -- a policy enforcement platform built into Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn." Over 40 of these working NAP solutions from Microsoft partners are being demonstrated at the RSA Conference.

See also