Microsoft falls further behind on security, identity integration

By John Fontana, Network World |  Endpoint Security, anti-malware, Microsoft

A week after admitting some phases of its security and identity integration strategy are going https://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/092909-microsoft-security-identit... ">slower than planned, Microsoft has hit another snag, this time with its anti-malware software.

The company said Thursday that it’s delaying the release of Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 (formerly Forefront Client Security) until the second half of 2010. The release of the anti-malware software for Windows desktops and servers had been expected to come in the first half of 2010.

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Microsoft said it’s shifting gears and building Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) on System Center Configuration Manager, an enterprise tool for evaluating, deploying and updating servers and desktops. Configuration Manager and Operations Manager are the foundations of the System Center portfolio of management products.

The news came via the Forefront Team blog, but the blog entry does not explain how Microsoft plans to “build the product on Configuration Manager.” There are no details on whether that would entail rewriting or redesigning the product or folding it into Configuration Manager.

“It's difficult to discern how much change is necessary to push it into System Center, but having seen the prior product, I'd say it would take a bit of work,” says Tom Henderson, managing director of ExtremeLabs and a member of the Network World Lab Alliance

The Forefront Client Security code was not developed in-house rather it was acquired when Microsoft bought Sybari Systems in 2005. The code evolved from Sybari’s Antigen software lineup.

“The Forefront stuff is likely to be another element of System Center, like SC-VMM [Virtual Machine Manager] or SC-Forefront, is my guess,” Henderson says. “Potentially, System Center becomes the wrapper for the entire Forefront product set, including the miscellaneous application protection components.”

The blog says the move to delay FEP came from customer feedback and market trends, and adds, “We are confident this is the right decision for our customers.”

“They're trying to fortify System Center,” Henderson says. “I think their greatest competition in this space comes from how Symantec's Altiris products have evolved in this space.”

The blog hints that the coming changes may eventually be tricky for end-users.

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