Microsoft Needs Laser Focus on Security

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-03-10 Print this article Print

5. Legacy issues

As the recent security outbreak in IE 6 and 7 has shown, Microsoft still has trouble with legacy products. Even though it's on to Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7, there are still millions of people using outdated and less secure software from the company. Unfortunately, Microsoft can't watch all of the services it has ever offered and the bad guys know it. If Microsoft wants to improve its security track record, it needs to deal more effectively with legacy-product use.

6. Where's the focus?

At this point, Microsoft is so concerned about Google and Apple that it has allowed its focus in other areas to slip. It's a problem. As a company that's delivering several high-volume products across a wide array of industries, Microsoft needs to be able to confront issues that will undoubtedly come its way. So far, it hasn't done a good job of addressing security. Microsoft needs to focus more on security if it wants to make its services safer.

7. Microsoft is usually a step behind

It seems that Microsoft is typically a step behind hackers. Rarely do we hear of the company addressing security issues prior to an outbreak. On too many occasions, it patches its software only after finding out that users are being affected by attacks exploiting a hole. If Microsoft truly wants to address its security troubles, it needs to stay a step ahead, not pick up the pieces after malicious hackers achieve their goals.

8. Users can't be trusted

Unfortunately, not enough Windows or Internet Explorer users are aware of the security issues that go along with surfing the Web or downloading files to the desktop. They simply go out in the wild doing whatever they want in the incorrect belief that they will be safe. In some cases, Microsoft can't really be blamed for security problems. Sometimes, it's the novice user who doesn't know enough about security to stay safe. Security education is important.

9. Hackers are more sophisticated than ever

Microsoft hasn't just stood still over the past few years as rivals such as Apple pelted it over its security issues. Steve Ballmer and company have been actively working to improve Microsoft's many products. And yet, it's still fighting an uphill battle. Unfortunately for Microsoft, hackers are more sophisticated than ever. They know how to exploit users. And they have a better understanding of what it takes to exploit Microsoft products. It isn't good.

10. Few consequences

In the past, Microsoft has suffered few consequences for the security issues its products have faced. Apple has railed against Windows in ads and numerous security critics have spoken out against the company, but Microsoft has continued to enjoy billions of dollars of profits through the years even as security problems continue to plague its services. Windows is also still the chosen operating system in the enterprise. Until Microsoft really sees an effect on its business from security problems, the impetus to dramatically improve its security initiatives just isn't there.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel