Every now and then I like posting about new and coming technologies or things that budding (or bored!) security persons can look into to get a leg up on other professionals. While I may not have bandwidth myself, I can at least identify them for my own reference or anyone else as well.
Vista. While lots of people are resisting Vista as not an entirely necessary upgrade, this is, quite frankly, the future of Windows computing. It might not be even next year, but at some point all of us will be forced to update to Vista, either to dropped support for XP or simply because all our home users’ new computers come with it installed…then remote access needs updated, QA needs test machines, web sites need to work…and so on until you have to adopt it. So get Vista today, be aware of the licensing and versions, figure out the nuances of wireless and wired and security concepts in Vista, and tinker with supporting it on a wide scale (scripts, GPO, firewall, etc). May as well start now and get moved otherwise you’ll be like me where I still run Win2000 laptops (ok ok, so I like the non-hassle of Genuine Advantage license checks that don’t exist for Win2000 and the smaller resources footprint on my old laptops…). Nonethless, it may be years away, but rest assured someday Vista will be the standard.
Macs. Macs have long been on the fringe of corporate networks, likely only used by graphics or designers. They are exceptions in corporate policy and management and typically corporate IT have no Mac experts and leave management to third party contractors or the users themselves. As Macs continue to make headway into home users (and especially security people like us) it makes sense that we become Mac-aware enough to support those users and add that to our corporate IT merit badges. Like I said, few IT geeks really can support the Macs, so one-up the rest and learn them. As a bonus, try to figure out how to make sure your monitoring and systems management can become Mac-friendly so they’re not always the exceptions to the rules.
Get on top of Longhorn now. While slated for the ever-skeptical release date of early 2008 now, like Vista, it will eventually be the de facto standard, for better or worse. Likewise, get ready for Powershell, Windows upcoming enhanced shell experience (which will also be the primary means to manage Exchange 2007).
This is one of the challenges of being an IT geek. You can’t just learn Windows 98 inside and out and hope to stick with it forever. You gotta be ready to move with the world and learn new things rather than sit back and cling to the past. Ask any mainframer from the 80s and 90s who doesn’t get to work on mainframes anymore…