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Future of 3'rd party patch management systems?

Recently, I was reading some of the notes about XP SP2 and some of the new features of Longhorn. I can see a definite trend towards rolling patch and vulnerability assessment and monitoring into the OS.

Today, this is largely done with third party programs or other systems from MS such as SMS or SUS. However, if you are a small shop, then SMS might be out of the picture because of the cost and complexity. Thusly, we have an entire cottage industry of companies that provide inexpensive software to manage patches, upgrades, etc. Most of these programs allow you to ask questions such as "What computers are running Win 2K with SP1 and have Office installed?" You get the picture...

Anyway, what do you think the future for this industry holds? Do you think that MS will end up absorbing much of this functionality into Windows itself? Given their push towards security, it would make sense that they would have better solutions for smaller companies that can't afford to roll out SMS or OpenView to keep a grip on their desktops. XP SP2 seems to be heading in that directions, albeit slowly.

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Friday, February 27, 2004

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