Back in 2005, Microsoft bought an anti-virus company called Sybari to, as this ComputerWorld article put it, “give them more of a presence in the enterprise security market”. They rcontinued with the “Antigen” line and had variants for Exchange, SharePoint etc. and used multiple different scanning engines including Norman, Sophos, Kaspersky, and Computer Associates (CA).
I was a reseller at this point, focused primarily on software. It’s going back quite a while now to be fair but I remember it as being very difficult to sell it, or even to have a proper conversation about it. Those were the days of security dominance by Mcafee, Symantec, and CA eTrust – and Microsoft were not taken seriously when it came to security.
Alongside this, they also had “Internet Security & Acceleration (ISA) Server” and “Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG)”. The former subsequently became “Threat Management Gateway (TMG)” and the latter, “Unified Application Gateway (UAG)”. I remember ISA/TMG being relatively successful, certainly more so than the desktop anti-virus, and I also remember being surprised when Microsoft turned TMG 2010 End of Life with no replacement! We had a range of customers who had been using it for years and, as it covered firewall, router, VPN, web cache and more, it had become quite integral to their server side setup; Microsoft choosing not to replace it definitely led to some negative sentiment among organisations! They announced in 2012 that there’d be no further development and it would no longer be available to buy from the end of that year – although it is still in mainstream support until 2020! If you’re still running TMG 2010, I’d love to hear from you! 😁
Regardless of the product and its capabilities though, there was still a lot of anti-Microsoft sentiment, distrust, and cynicism stemming from the various legal cases of the late 90’s/early 00’s – and this seemed particularly strong in the security space.
All this is to show how far Microsoft have come in the security space in this 14 year period. Now, in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Endpoint Protection Platforms, they are top for “ability to execute” and 2nd (behind CrowdStrike) for “completeness of vision”.
For them to be so far ahead of established security players like Sophos, Trend Micro, and Symantec is fascinating. Gartner state that Windows Defender Antivirus is the market share leader for business endpoints – quite the turnaround! It’s clear the work Microsoft has been doing around Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (MDATP) (formerly WDATP) is paying off. Among the “cautions” mentioned by Gartner are:
- Licensing is difficult to navigate
- Windows 10 E5 is more expensive than competitive offerings
- The MDATP features aren’t all available on Windows 7/8
- No support for XP
- Group Policy settings can be complex
Nothing too major there really, certainly not compared to many of the other participants. As we move towards 2020, Microsoft’s security game is strong. Not just on the desktop but it so many other areas, some of the cloud security and information protection products seem really good and innovative in numerous areas. I think it’s safe to say that Microsoft are a security company now – as well as everything else!
Check out the Microsoft post here – https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2019/08/23/gartner-names-microsoft-a-leader-in-2019-endpoint-protection-platforms-magic-quadrant/.