TechEd: Security and integration hot topics for developers

Security and integration are the biggest concerns for IT professionals in the face of digital terrorism, according to Microsoft at this year's TechEd 2002, the annual conference for Microsoft IT developers.

Microsoft executives took the opportunity to outline developments in its Trustworthy computing initiative at the opening keynote of TechEd 2002 in Brisbane, Queensland today.

"Security is the number one priority from a technology integration and business perspective," Cliff Reeves, vice president of Microsoft's Windows server division, said.

Senior vice president in Microsoft's Windows division, Brian Valentine added to Reeves' comments, saying, "Microsoft is going through a major cultural shift in how we engineer security within the company."

Historically, IT professionals have focused on networking the enterprise and security has not been at the front of mind, but this is an attitude that has now changed, Valentine said.

"In the past 18 months we've seen that security concerns are in the front of mind for IT professionals," he said, adding that the security challenges have also changed.

"Hackers from four or five years ago were glory-based hackers," Valentine said. "An interesting development which Code Red and Nimda really shows hackers have moved from [that level] to what could be labelled digital terrorists."

Valentine said his team analysed "every line of code looking for vulnerabilities" in the development of Windows 2000 and Windows .Net in what was a concerted effort in "building highest security products.

"It's incumbent on Microsoft to build the highest security products and to lead the industry [in building better security]," he said.

Executives from the software vendor said software plays a key role in overcoming integration issues and underpinning security policies.

Managing director of Microsoft Australia, Paul Houghton, said, "Software matters more than ever in integration and in total cost of ownership. Software plays a key role in integrating technology today."

One of the biggest developments has been Microsoft's effort to make products that are secure and "locked down" from "straight out of the box", where traditionally the products' default settings have been set at the lowest security level.

Microsoft claim this is the largest TechEd in Australia to date, with 1500 attendees of developers and IT professionals gathered for the three-day conference.

* Siobhan Chapman is attending TechEd 2002 as a guest of Microsoft.

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