TORONTO, July 13, 2004 — On the third and final day of Microsoft’s premiere annual event for its business partners, the company reaffirmed its commitment to provide an unprecedented level of investments and resources to help fuel partner success. With more than 5,500 business leaders, marketing executives, sales professionals and solutions architects in attendance, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2004 began July 11 and runs through today.
Building on last year’s launch of the Microsoft Partner Program, Microsoft used this year’s conference to unveil programs and resources closely aligned with the Microsoft Solution Competencies, offerings designed to help partners capture additional business opportunity.
To gain insight into the commitment Microsoft is making for its worldwide partner network, with security remaining a top focus in the year ahead, PressPass spoke with Mike Nash , corporate vice president, Microsoft Security Business and Technology Unit:
PressPass: What is the Security Solutions Competency and how does it benefit partners and customers?
Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President, Security Business and Technology Unit
Mike Nash: As an industry-wide issue, security is a top priority for Microsoft, as well as for solutions providers and ISVs. We really have to work together to build software and services that will better protect our mutual customers and the industry as a whole. Within the security solutions competency, partners are able to focus on security solutions that drive their business forward and provide great customer value. And customers can be assured that they know who the best partners are with a proven competency in building the most advanced Microsoft security solutions to protect their information assets.
PressPass: In addition to the security solutions competency, what other opportunities does Microsoft offer partners who offer security solutions?
Nash: Today, we announced the general availability of Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004, which was designed to be extensible and enable Microsoft partners to build and deliver a wide range of solutions to help companies meet specific security requirements (see Microsoft ISA Server 2004 Enhancements Create New Opportunities for Partners in the Security Arena.– /presspass/features/2004/jul04/07-13ISAServer.asp ). ISA Server 2004 will mean new opportunities for software vendors to develop new security solutions, ranging from content filtering to load balancing and beyond. These solutions will allow systems integrators to play a strategic role in the development and maintenance of customized security solutions and hardware partners to create security appliances. As an example, 10 partners announced complementary offerings today.
We also have a robust partner ecosystem built around our Windows Rights Management Services (RMS), which provides independent software vendors, infrastructure service providers, and systems integrators the ability to integrate features into their products and service offerings.
Additionally, today we are announcing a roadmap for Network Access Protection technologies to be offered in Windows that provides a uniform way for checking clients attempting to connect to a network.
PressPass: How will Microsoft’s strategy for Network Access Protection benefit partners?
Nash: Network Access Protection is a solution based on an extensible, standards-based architecture. It allows customers anywhere to access their corporate network and presents an opportunity for the industry to work together to better secure the corporate network. It will be available in the next release of Windows Server 2003 (codenamed “R2”) and will also provide system administrators with the ability to monitor and control computer access based on compliance policies for accessing the network. Twenty-five industry leaders in anti-virus software, patch-management and systems management are working together with Microsoft to deliver end-to-end solutions for customers
PressPass: What other ways is Microsoft working with partners to help protect customers?
Nash: We know that technology alone will not make the Internet safer. That’s why we need to work in concert with the industry to provide guidance, education and training to our customers. We set a goal to train 500,000 IT professionals worldwide on security best practices by the end of calendar 2004, and in six months we have already surpassed that goal, training over 510,000 professionals, including roughly 140,000 partners. We have also joined forces with third-party antivirus and personal-firewall software companies to provide more complete solutions for customers. Another way we’re working with the industry is through the Global Infrastructure Alliance for Internet Safety (GIAIS), which is an alliance of service providers that we formed this year to help educate and protect customers.
We also work with leading anti-virus vendors in the Virus Information Alliance (VIA), a virus information sharing organization where we can work together to exchange important information about newly discovered viruses and worms, develop solutions to them, and communicate out to customers in a timely manner.