Today is the second part of our interview series. We talk with Samantha, the SBS 2003 client workstation today about her year in review
Q. Good morning Samantha! I see you are having your morning Mountain Dew!
A. Well, yes, I'm just not a coffee drinker like the rest of you guys.
Q. Well let's get started, shall we? Yesterday we talked with Sam the SBS 2003 server about his year, let's talk about your year?
Q. Let's cut right to the chase and ask you about what's been on everyone's list these days of issues - malware. How was it this year?
A. You and I both know it was pretty bad this year. For my end users that were smart, surfed safely, and stayed in a position where they didn't have full control of me and instead let Sam the SBS 2003 server control much of the details, they were pretty good. For my end users that downloaded anything, clicked on anything and opened up email attachments willy nilly, they had some issues.
Q. I hear though, you do have some protection that came out in August of this year, some third party addons to help and there is even more new products and plug ins coming to help out even more.
A. That's true. First off I have Outlook 2003 for my end users [again, thanks to Sam the SBS 2003 server that licenses all my end users for that] there are some built in protections that I have. For example, in Outlook if you leave on cached exchange mode which Sam automatically sets for me, I have junk filtering, I block nasty attachments, and I block photos from being automatically viewed.
Q. That's sounds pretty good.
A. Yes it is. Then if Sam the SBS 2003 server has Trend Micro Antivirus installed [and this is just one example, many of the vendors do this], there's a malware addon that you can enable that helps to protect me.
Q. So let's talk about what happened in August of this year, I hear you got a major update?
A. Yes I did, a big new service pack for XP sp2. Let me really stress to the listeners how much better I work when I have XP sp2 and Office 2003 with Sam the SBS 2003 server. I really hook in really well with Sharepoint when I have Office 2003. And with XP sp2 and Sam the SBS 2003, I really protect my workstations from willy nilly talking to one another.
Q. I heard one of the Microsoft speakers talk about this, Steve Riley, I think?
A. Yes, he's writing a book that will include dicussion of this concept, that workstations shouldn't just “talk to one another” that they should only talk to the server and thus they are better protected from things like blaster, sql slammer and what not.
Q. Do you know what the book title is?
A. Oh yes, it's called Protecting your Windows Network and it will be out in 2005 from Addison Wesley.
Q. Cool. But let's go back to that malware issue because I hear it was pretty bad.
A. Oh sure thing! I agree it's a huge issue and even my maker in Redmond knows and they bought a anti-spyware company and will be bringing out a public beta of this very very soon. Also speaking of betas, I've been trying out the Windows Update Services beta and that is looking really nice. I'm really looking forward to relying more and more on Sam the SBS 2003 server for lots more protection.
Q. Yes, Sam mentioned that, that can you expand?
A. Absolutely, as I said right now I run with my end users in a pretty trusting way, but Sam and I have been talking and for some of our setups, where the consultant, the VAR/VAP has sat down with the owner and talked about this, we're going to run a bit more securely this year and take away those administrator rights on for my end users.
Q. That's sounds pretty cool. Is this something all firms will be doing?
A. It's in the long term plans for all systems actually. Some firms can do this now, and there's honestly some firms that don't see this as an issue. But what's cool about the relationship that Sam and I have, is that we're pretty flexible and can set things up just about any way the owner wants us to go. The biggest issue is not with the Microsoft applications running in this user mode, it's the third party stuff. Like the firewalls we're running here, he and I can and do roll things out faster than bigger firms.
Q. Wow, that's great to know that you guys are so agile. But, I hear it's a pain to get those programs to run in user mode.
A. Yes it is, we have some tools like filemon, regmon, incontrol5, and a new chapter in Harry's book coming to talk on this, and I honestly do think that more companies are beginning to realize the value of doing this, but it will take time. Right now we've got a lot of people asking how to do this for Quickbooks, an accounting program.
Q. So what I'm hearing from you is that letting Sam the SBS 2003 server be in control is really key to having a secure system.
A. Yes, being under Sam's protection, in a domain where I am, really helps me stay safe and secure. It's really been obvious that the more I let him protect me for, the better off I am.
Q. That's really good to know. So we're about out of time, any final words to our listeners today?
A. Yes, remember that you really want to buy XP Professional version, retire all older version because I really work the best when all my end users are on the same platform. If you have any questions at all about licensing and what not, I have some really smart people looking out for me that are on the Mssmallbiz site and listserve. If fact all of my support communities are pretty amazing.
Q. We've heard that they are pretty special online places.
A. Indeed! I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and an invite to everyone to join Sam and me in the SBS communities! From Nick's to the Magical M&M's, to yahoogroups that Sam mentioned yesterday, to the newsgroups, in fact, before I forget it I want to say a HUGE thank you to the original gentleman who really started the community feeling and to this day really sets the tone for the communities out here.
Q. Is that Grey Lancaster that I've heard mentioned?
A. Yes it is, he has a real “southern gentleman” way about him and he really makes sure that the communities of SBS are kind and helpful. He's pretty amazing.
Q. Well we're out of time Samantha, the SBS 2003 client workstation, it's been great talking with you!
A. Same here!
[Like I said, a little too much Dew for Susan]