Later this year, with the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft is introducing a set of security enhancements that will dramatically improve Microsoft Windows XP’s security and ability to withstand attacks from viruses and worms. These technologies include Network protection, Memory protection, improved email security and safer browsing. These security improvements make it more difficult to attack Windows XP systems, even if the latest hot-fixes and updates are not applied. To most enterprise management solutions these security enhancements will have a profound impact on the features they offer. By securing the remote system, many agent-based and invasive approaches to Agentless™ solutions may not function properly, leaving the administrator the choice between security and manageability.

"SP2 will break some applications because they are insecure," said Tony Goodhew, a product manager in Microsoft's developer group. "Security is important, and it is not just a Microsoft problem but a developer community problem. We all need to work together to create a more secure computing environment." If developers find that SP2 breaks their applications, it most likely means that they weren't following best practices in terms of security when writing their applications, according to Goodhew.**

Alex Turner, Senior Application Architect for Insystek, Inc. said, “We welcome the release of Microsoft’s Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP. It affirms the secure non-invasive approach to enterprise management we have been advocating for close to five years. The NSMC does not require invasive technologies, such as agents, file and print sharing, remote registry service, or proprietary ports to be exposed on remote Windows systems.” Insystek’s non-invasive approach to enterprise management means that the Windows XP System running SP2 communicates with specific IP addresses across a single TCP port, dramatically increasing security. Enabling Windows XP SP2 systems to communicate with the scheduler, software distribution and sentinel services will provide administrators a high level of manageability without compromising security.

To ensure administrators can continue to securely manage their environments. Insystek is offering upgrade incentives for customers of LANDesk, SMS, Shavlik, Altiris and most other enterprise management products that utilize agent-based, and less secure approaches to enterprise management prior to the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2.

SP2 went into beta testing in 2003. Microsoft has announced the availability of Release Candidate 1 for testing. Microsoft plans to release the final version of the update sometime in mid-2004.

**Windows XP SP2 could break existing applications

News Story by Joris Evers,10801,90849,00.html