New Microsoft Small-Biz Wares in the Hopper

Microsoft is expected to show off a number of its latest small-business products - not to mention beat the security drum - at its partner conference next week.

Brand-new small-business wares — including the Microsoft Business Network, Windows Small Business Server 2003 and new demand-planning modules for its Great Plains and Axapta applications — are expected to be among the highlights of Microsofts Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans next week in New Orleans.

At the same time, no Microsoft gathering these days would be complete without a security pitch from the top brass. Mike Nash, corporate VP in charge of Microsofts security business unit, will deliver one of the kick-off keynotes at the four-day fete.

Nash is expected to talk up Microsofts evolving patch-management strategy. He also will likely lift the lid on two new security-related "solution accelerators" on tap from the Redmond software maker.

One, called Patch Management Solution Accelerator Using SMS, is aimed at larger customers who need help integrating patch management into their Systems Management Server setups. The other is Patch Management Solution Accelerator Using SUS, which builds on Microsofts Software Update Services product for small/mid-size businesses.