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Gates Sets Timetable For Security Improvements
Although Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative is a multiyear effort, Gates says bug-weary customers will get relief in months, not years. "By the middle of next year, I think even our critics would say, 'Wow, they've really turned this patching thing around...This is night-and-day different. This is not a big problem for us,'" Gates said during an interview with InformationWeek on Monday, one day after his annual keynote address at the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas.
Microsoft's security-improvement program involves more rigorous software-development techniques and bug testing, new security products, and changes in the way patches are distributed. In the near term, Gates said, the just-released Systems Management Server 2003 represents the single biggest advance in helping system administrators better cope with Microsoft's steady flow of security bulletins. The product features new vulnerability identification and assessment capabilities, a wizard that simplifies patch distribution, and improved integration with Microsoft's software-update service. As more businesses use SMS 2003 to manage the patch process, Gates predicted, the work involved will become merely "noise-level" activity.
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