Response to the James Gaskin’s "Challenge"

Author James Gaskin published a review of SBS 2003 R2  in Network World on 7/31/2006.

I thought the article was quite favorable, highlighting many of the important features in R2. I responded to him privately, first, with my comments and suggestions, and subsequently posted on my blog:

Primarily, I took exception to his repeated assertions that SBS could not be kept secured by neophyte SBS admins, nor could they install or maintain it without help from consultants. I also suggested that he could have done his readers a service by directing them to the SBS Specialist Community and the public SBS newsgreoup, if help was required.

Well, he did receive my comments, because he sent me back a challenge privately.

I appreciate your comments, and will mention them soon on the SMB page. So you’re willing to bet that 100 percent, or even 90 percent, of your SBS customers have an up to date, secured installation with all appropriate patches and security alerts under control without much outside help? If that’s true, I’ll do a story on just you guys and how your customers are more secure than most.


James E. Gaskin

Well, I responded to his challenge the same day (with two NW editors copied on the email). He claims he did not receive my response. But rather than the courtesy of trying to contact me again to see if I received his challenge, he went ahead and made presumptions based on not hearing back from me – Microsoft Fans Don’t Respond

This evening, I resent my response to his challenge, and have posted it below. Tell me what you think!

James, I hope I’m not na├»ve enough to claim that every SBS site is up to date on their security patches! Some intervention, even with R2, is required. But R2 makes the whole process so much easier, and that was the (positive) point I was trying to make.

Microsoft’s SBS Dev team has done a fantastic job in designing a new front end interface to WSUS in R2. They’ve simplified the whole process of reviewing new patches, and scheduling them for download and implementation. I say this from personal experience. I tried installing standard WSUS on several systems in the past year, and was frustrated with the learning curve and process. But, with R2 I would not be hesitant in training selected users at a customer site to be responsible for reviewing/scheduling security patches.


Saying that, most customers that I know still prefer that their SBS consultant continue to manage and schedule implementation of security patches. In those cases, the combination of Remote Web Workplace and WSUS in SBS R2 makes this a very easy process for the SBS consultant to do remotely.


Now, if you can get me an SBS R2/WSUS console that allows me to monitor multiple customer sites on one screen, then we would be rocking!


Finally, I’d be happy to touch base with my counterparts, if that’s OK with you, to see if any of them would like to take you up on their offer!



Kevin Weilbacher


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