It’s amazing to me how far we’ve come with Windows security in the past few years, and also truly amazing that folks like Symantec, AVG, McAfee, and others have never sued Microsoft for invading their industry by including security features with Windows. Malware security alone was a multi-billion dollar industry. Providing similar, sometimes better, features with the operating system has to have cut into revenue for the security vendor old-timers.

However, to me, it makes complete sense that the provider of the operating system should be the one responsible for securing it. Microsoft’s foray into Windows security started slow, but has steadily improved into a no-nonsense offering that does a great job minimizing computing risks. Microsoft’s System Center Endpoint Protection product is the only solution that many Enterprises use and is reported to cause less trouble than almost every other standalone security solution. Even on the client side, Microsoft’s security agent is extremely kind to processing power, even during a full scan of the computer’s files. At one job I had a few years back, users would constantly report a severe slowness on their computers. The solution was to remove AVG and install something else, usually Microsoft Security Essentials.

Despite periodic reports that Microsoft fails in the security department, it does a great job and many are completely happy with the solution and Microsoft’s efforts. Funny to me is that these “reports” are usually sponsored by a competing security vendor, so I’m not sure how much weight you can give their results.

Windows 8.1 will also improve on Microsoft’s security efforts, ensuring that the Windows brand remains the safest, most secure operating system. Windows Defender is getting some additional functions. First, the built-in antivirus solution will include network behavior monitoring. Defender can already detect what it knows about, but network behavior monitoring allows Defender to detect and stop malware just based on how malware normally conducts itself. This means that the computer can be protected against the potential of raging malware outbreaks, long before they become a news report. Secondly, Defender will alsolend its enhanced ability to Internet Explorer 11, ensuring that harmful code, encountered while surfing the web, cannot be executed.

This article is part of The IT Guide to Windows 8.1, a continuing series to make the case for Windows 8.1 in the organization.