Microsoft Monoculture?

Question: Does our district's exclusive dependence on Microsoft operating systems and productivity software pose an inherent security risk?

The IT Guy says:
Some analysts would say yes. Of course, I am sure Microsoft would say no! But the virus outbreaks in the past year that have brought down servers and internet service for users worldwide certainly should raise some fundamental questions.

Daniel Geer, a co-author of a controversial report released in the fall of 2003 titled, "CyberInsecurity: The Cost of Monopoly -- How the Dominance of Microsoft's Products Poses a Risk to Security," argues that the US government as well as other organizations reliance on Microsoft software products makes them "susceptible to massive, cascading failures."

The ability to "think different" has been a slogan for Microsoft rival Apple Computer for some time, and others in the multi-billion dollar technology industry certainly would stand to win if this perception of risk in a Microsoft monoculture becomes more widely accepted. Risk inherent in the reliance on any operating system should be analyzed as part of an organization's technology planning. The ideas of Geer and his co-authors are worth reading and considering.

Geer's final report is available online at www.ccianet.org/papers/cyberinsecurity.pdf.

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