How Microsoft will shake up the security industry

Microsoft's ForeFront integrated security suite, currently in beta (code named "Stirling"), won't be available in its prior release until the end of the year, but it's likely to shake up the security business when it does. Last month, Microsoft announced an update on the release timing in a blog note, stating that ForeFront Server Security for Exchange and Threat Management gateway will be delivered in 4Q09, and that the management console, Client Security 2.0, and Security for SharePoint will be available in the first half of 2010. A second beta of Stirling was just released late last month.

One of the reasons for the delay, according to Microsoft, is a desire to add interoperability with third party security solutions, and to further address protection against zero-day attacks.

Stirling, which is positioned as an "integrated security suite", combines protection across all desktop and server applications as well as the nework edge, and includes a single dashboard to show all systems being protected at once. Stirling will also incorporate content filtering, firewall services, anti-malware and anti-spam protection.

ForeFront, once released, is going to pose some formidable competition to dedicated security companies. Sure, Microsoft isn't positioned as a security company--but they're one of those companies that are big enough to position themselves as whatever they want.

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