Microsoft's top three Vista security features

Russ Humphries, a senior program manager with the Vista security team discusses Vista security features

Microsoft finally rolled its Vista operating system out the door billing it as its most secure operating system ever, but what are the security features that will really matter to enterprise users?

To answer this question, IDG News Service asked Russ Humphries, a senior program manager with the Vista security team, to list the three Vista features that will have the biggest effect. Here's his list:

1) User Account Control

Before Vista, Windows automatically gave users too much power over their systems, Microsoft has said.

With User Account Control (UAC), Windows will require a few extra steps before the user can do things such as install new programs. The feature will make it much easier for corporate administrators to lock down desktops and prevent users, or malicious programs, from messing around with the system or installing unauthorized software.

UAC has been one of Vista's most controversial features, with early testers complaining that they were overwhelmed with pop-up messages warning them about every little change they made to the system. But these warnings will not slow down most enterprise users, because they won't be installing device drivers or software, Humphries said. "Most corporate users are going to get a corporate image that will have all their applications already installed on the image," he said.

2) Windows Defender

With Vista, Microsoft has built a defense against pop-up ads and unwanted spyware right into the operating system. Although Defender has been criticized for not being as effective as commercial products, the fact that it will be so widely deployed is bound to improve things. "Adware is a huge annoyance, a security risk, and a bit of a machine hog, " Humphries said. "This has benefits for home users, small and medium-sized enterprises, and even large organizations."

3) BitLocker

There have been more than 100 million U.S. victims of data breaches over the past two years, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. BitLocker aims to prevent the next 100 million from getting hit quite so quickly, by giving corporate users a way to encrypt and password-protect their data. With BitLocker encrypting Vista's data, a stolen PC doesn't turn into a front-page data breach story, as was the case with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last year.

BitLocker can also ensure that the operating system hasn't been tampered with at boot-up time, but customers seem to particularly appreciate the fact that it will help keep their companies out of the newspapers every time a laptop is lost. "I've had a lot of thank-yous from our customers," Humphries said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?