Thursday, June 02, 2005

Security Awareness for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless

Over on Over on, a guy named Winn is documenting his company's move from Windows to Mac. This could be a really good thing, give a bunch of users a chance to see the upside and downside to moving from one platform and OS to another.

For those who don't know about Macs, they use different hardware, and vastly different software from PCs. The common belief is that Mac OSs are more secure than Windows OSs. I believe this is probably true, although I believe the reason is different than the ones given in most online forums. I don't particularly think Mac's OS is better written, although parts of it seem to be. I think that there are a lot more malicious users targeting Windows, and that there are a lot more half-baked software companies writing poor software for Windows. The mac community is much smaller than the Windows community, so there is less commercial software available for it.

If you are starting a software development company, I urge you to target Windows first, and Mac second, because there are a LOT fewer users using Macs. Those users may be happier, and more secure, but there are still fewer, which means fewer potential sales, which means exponentially fewer actual sales.

Back to the point, though. Why does a simple choice of operating system create more emotional response than two rival football teams meeting head-to-head? This is a business decision folks, and the rest of your life doesn't depend on it. If you read some of the comments, you will see that the responders are clearly in one camp or the other. And they are rabid about defending their position.

I don't get that part. Why be rabid about something so unimportant? I can understand Winn getting fed up with problems, and writing some rants as he was changing over. I wish he would focus more on the mechanics of the switchover, and which things are hard to adjust to, rather than restating what a million other people have written. Clearly, there are a lot of people who feel that the Mac is better, and that Windows users are fools. Those people usually write it as M$ and Windoze.

As another aside, I don't get why people are suprised that MS is all about making money. Duh. They are a for-profit company. That is the purpose in life for MS. And they are really, really, really good at it. Apple is all about making money, too. Why do people not get so upset with Apple for pursuing riches?

It sure gets boring reading so many people's remarks about how Windows sucks, or Mac is too hard. Mr Winn, just give us the facts about switching, please. I'd like to know what was hard for you to adjust to on the mac, and what was easy. You touched on that some in part IV, but mostly fell back on 'Windows is not secure. Mac is more secure'. I grant you that point. How about getting into specifics on the switchover. Do the rest of your users like the new systems? Would you really recommend this for the average corporation of 50+ people? How hard is it to train your network/computer guy to fix the Mac? Or configure the Mac? What are the hidden costs or bonuses in switching. I know you are going to mostly write from the standpoint of security, but hook the rest of us, non-security types, up with some concrete examples of what is better in Mac, or what sucks more in Mac.

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