Where We Stand on ITs Top Issues

In tough times, IT execs need to advocate for IT.

Editorials at eWeek advocate the interests of IT professionals—you, our readers. Each December, we summarize our positions on the years key IT questions.

There were many questions surrounding Microsoft in 2002, which boil down to a single word: trust. First, customers need to trust that products they buy from Microsoft make them reasonably secure from cyber-attacks. Bill Gates kicked off 2002 with a memo putting security at the top of his companys to-do list. It was a start. Microsoft must use better practices for writing code and should consider a public-review process that would include disclosing APIs. The Lagrande-Palladium scheme would not have been necessary had Microsofts code been better.

Second, Microsoft must comply in good faith with remedies proposed for its abuse of monopoly power. Many of its responses to remedial demands have been perfunctory. It must do better.

Third, Microsofts Licensing 6 and Software Assurance programs alienated many users. Officials said they are considering revising the plans and listening to customers. We hope so.

Fourth, Microsofts approach to Passport spurred the FTC to recommend a biennial audit of the company. Microsoft should be a player in identity management but must show better stewardship of personal information.

Indeed, identity management is critical to the success of e-business, and we think citizens would be well-served if lawmakers were to compose an electronic identity bill of rights that includes the kind of data that may be gathered and how secure it must be.

On the Linux front, there were signs of fissure among backers of the insurgent operating system, with some lining up behind the UnitedLinux distribution and Red Hat, the distributor with the largest installed base, looking on. The success of Linux requires consistency. Its up to the Linux community to maintain it.

IT pros have plenty of other worries. With cyber-attacks remaining a danger, its important to keep the need to protect data at the forefront and not let it fall victim to cost cutting.

Finally, in tough times, IT execs need to advocate for IT and make sure that it remains tightly linked to business strategy, even when short-term payback is the No. 1 requirement of any infrastructure investment.