Microsoft Forms Security Alliance

A Who's Who of vendors comes together to work on products standardized on the Microsoft platform.

Microsoft Corp. is at the helm of a new industry consortium aimed at uniting security vendors to work on products standardized on the Microsoft platform.

The SecureIT Alliance is comprised of a group of industry partners, including Symantec Corp., Trend Micro Inc., McAfee Inc., RSA Security Inc., F-Secure Corp., VeriSign Inc. and a number of other security firms.

The consortium is aimed at expanding Microsofts security partnerships within the industry, as well as boosting its efforts with government and law enforcement agencies.

"The point of the SecureIT Alliance is to work with our industry partner community to create the best solutions possible," said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Security Business & Technology unit, in a release. Our customers will benefit because theyll get better security products from a wide range of vendors."

Nash added that Microsofts industry partners will also benefit, since theyll have better information regarding how to integrate their products with the Microsoft platform.

Several of the alliances 30 founding members expressed optimism that the consortium can create a more coordinated effort in fighting security threats like spyware and phishing.

With the increasing sophistication of online criminal activity, the need for security vendors to work together is paramount, noted Chad Kinzelberg, vice president of VeriSign Security Services. He added, "The SecureIT Alliance will provide a platform for security vendors to work in concert to confront online crime, improve security responses and meet customer needs."

But not everyone is so enthusiastic about the alliance and its potential to effect change. "This is a move by Microsoft to dominate the security market and cut everyone else in the industry off at the knees," said Richard Williams, an analyst with Garban Institutional Equities.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read about Microsofts anti-spyware solution for the enterprise.

Because the security vendors in the consortium will have to standardize to Microsofts platform, Williams believes it will give Microsoft near-total control of its competitors and allow the company to set whatever direction for security in the industry that it chooses.

Vendors had little choice to join the alliance, Williams believes, because if they had resisted, it is likely that Microsoft could have made products that competed with their applications directly.

"This consortium is analogous to taking a herd of wild horses and forcing them into a single stall," said Williams. "You control how they behave. Microsoft is forcing competitors to become its pets."

/zimages/3/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.