Skip to main content

Editor’s Note: Speak Up

The promise of unified communications is indeed compelling—but it can pose some new and unique security challenges.

Lafe Low

Unified communications (UC) promises to revolutionize communication, the process of meetings, perhaps even the way we do business. This is truly a disruptive technology, as described by Clayton Christensen; he refers to technologies that can completely deconstruct both the infrastructure and processes with which we’re currently familiar, and rebuild them into a new paradigm we had not previously considered.

First there were phones, then e-mail and instant messaging, then video transmissions … now there’s a way to bring all those forms of communication together. No longer will you need different devices for different modes of communication. Consolidating the myriad forms of electronic communication is the what, UC is the how, and enabling companies to do business anytime and from anywhere is the why. Microsoft Lync Server 2010 brings together voice, data, audio and video communications, and connects with the Office applications you use to run your business every day.

All this continuous communication can also lead to new security vulnerabilities, so securing this brave new world is both a challenge and a critical directive. As the communication world and the application world have evolved, so too has the Microsoft Forefront family of security solutions.

The Forefront suite has evolved to include:

  • Forefront Protection 2010 for Lync Server
  • Forefront Identity Manager 2010
  • Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010
  • Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010
  • Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010
  • Forefront Online Protection for Exchange Server
  • Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server
  • Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint

That covers all the major vulnerabilities in a modern enterprise communications infrastructure: identity management, network endpoints, internal and external communications, and the Microsoft collaboration platform, SharePoint.

This could be another deathblow to the airlines. Why spend hundreds on business travel when you can meet “face to face” in the afternoon with colleagues across the globe, share and collaborate securely, and still be home for dinner? All without having to pay $25 for bringing on an overnight bag or $10 for a sandwich that was made three days ago.

Plan for 2011

Now is the time to dust off from the holiday season, make resolutions, and plan for the New Year. Will your organization deploy some ambitious technology like UC? Will you be investing or reinvesting in greater levels of security? 

Let us know, and while you’re at it, tell us what you think of what you read on the TechNet Magazine site. Are we covering the topics and technologies you’re using or planning to deploy? Is it the right level of technical depth? We want to ensure our targeted coverage is hitting the mark.

Send us your feedback. Sign up for our LinkedIn group, send us an e-mail at tnmag@microsoft.com or e-mail me directly at the address below.

Lafe Low
Lafe Low is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s Redmond magazine. Contact him at  llow@1105med.