Microsoft Eyes SMB Security with OneCare for Server

Senior Director for Windows Live OneCare Amy Barzdukas discusses plans for the OneCare for Server product line.

Microsoft made some waves in the security industry when Windows Live OneCare made its debut two years ago. Roughly six months after the release of Version 2.0, Microsoft has its eyes on the small and midsize business market and building out its anti-malware capabilities. Amy Barzdukas, senior director for Windows Live OneCare, sat down with eWEEK's Brian Prince to discuss plans for the security offering and the upcoming release of OneCare for Server.

Windows Live OneCare came out targeting the consumer market. Is the company now also focusing on small business?

Windows Live OneCare, currently with its support for three PCs, [is] good for a very small business or a home-based business. This summer we've announced that we will have OneCare for Server, and a trial of that will ship with [Windows] Small Business Server 2008. As part of that we will also enable small businesses to accommodate more than the three PCs for OneCare, although we haven't announced the details of the pricing and licensing around that model.

But we will scale it to make sure we can accommodate businesses up to, say, about 25 PCs. Once you get into a server network environment beyond 25 PCs, you probably have the need for manageability and reporting that go beyond what OneCare offers. And at that point we want you to go to either a hosted solution or Forefront, something like that. That really has a more granular ability to manage an infrastructure that's suitable for a company that size.

If you are a business owner, how do you decide between Forefront and OneCare?

When you look at the whole small and medium business space, there are an incredible number of subsegments within there. You've got a small business that maybe has five employees today. But they intend to [have] 50 employees in 18 months. So they're already thinking about scaling to that kind of size.

Then you have small businesses that really-it may be a mom-and-pop shop and they don't really intend to have any more kids so that's the size of the business ... we think about it just in terms of PC size within specific scenarios. Really, below 25 PCs your complexity is such that OneCare is probably going to be sufficient, unless you are a business under 25 [PCs] that is going to be 200 [PCs] in 18 months. Then you want to start building out your network topology to accommodate that much larger size.

But OneCare is a great solution for a home-based office or a very small business. If you are a network and branch office scenario, you are already into a land of server complexity and you really are not probably the best candidate for OneCare. So [for] small businesses that more closely resemble a consumer scenario, or small businesses with just one or two servers, OneCare is a great solution.

What are the capabilities of OneCare for Server? Is it the same as the OneCare version out now?

It is very similar to the client, and the purpose of OneCare for Server will be to provide the full range of security protections for the server that you currently have on the clients. And it will also be able to then be a hub PC to be able to monitor the health of all of the clients in your [OneCare] Circle.