Beyond all the glitz and
glamour of Vista, what are we really looking
for in Microsofts new release: security and reliability? These are the two
main features I am looking at when I tinker with Windows Vista beta 2 release,formerly code named Longhorn.
Dont get me wrong, I
love the glitz. The new Aero Glass interface is very pleasing to the eye. The
new and improved Internet Explorer is a neat fresh look and the way Microsoft
has designed the new operating system to organize your data visually willincrease productivity and is the perfect eye candy.
But even after looking at
all of these new features, I still want a secure, reliable release that allowsfor easy deployment; I would trade all the eye candy for this.
Lets talk about the security inroads this new release takes on.
Prior to this version,
Microsoft has supported limited user accounts (LUA) but it was very difficult
to manage without some tweaks here and there. Some of these tweaks involvedsnags with running Windows Explorer and system clock.
Overall, they were too
difficult to manage and much easier to run with administrator access. With the
release of Windows Vista beta 2, we are finally seeing user security in Windowsthat is similar to Unix.
How does Microsofts new approach to security work?
Whether you are a user or
an administrator, you will run the operating system with reduced privileges.
Dont choke! Yes, by default you will not have everyone full control. And when
a user needs to work in administrator mode, a new protected administrator sets
limitations to prevent an application or task from going outside itsprivileges.
Additionally, if you
migrate to this new operating system and you have legacy applications, they
will also run with reduced privileges by taking advantage of the virtual
registry feature that tricks legacy applications into thinking they have morerights than they truly have.
Furthermore, when a user
needs to perform a task that requires administrative privileges, a dialog box
will pop-up requesting authentication. This is very similar to Linux when youneed root privileges to perform an administrative task.
This new feature is known
as user account protection (UAP); formerly known as least-privileged user
account (LUA). By turning on this functionality in Vista
beta 2, you ensure that all user accounts will be prompted for permissionbefore making any changes that require administrative rights.
As a decision maker, you
should recognize that the security enhancements in Window Vista beta 2 warrant
a deeper look. I believe many people will flock to this release as the securityfeatures implemented into Windows Vista will not be backwards compatible.
So, if you are serious
about security and like the new security redesign, the only thing keeping youfrom moving forward will be the cost and deployment.