Back in 2003, Microsoft unoffically notified the world of their intention to venture into the world of anti-virus and anti-malware solutions by buying out Romania-based antivirus firm GeCad. The world waited but nothing happened. Then Microsoft bough Giant, an anti-spyware provider. We waited and then got a limited functionality product called Defender that has been in a never ending beta. More recently, Microsoft bought out Sybari, the famed e-mail anti-malware solutions provider. This past July, Microsoft Antigen 9.0 made its debut. Antigen for Exchange featured a new anti-virus engine that had not ben seen before, one from Microsoft!
Details of what Microsoft was doing on the server and desktop anti-malware world slipped out here and there. They were definitely developing a solution. It was rumoured that Windows Update and/or WSUS could be a deployment mechanism, something that many would like as it would simplify deployment systems.
Microsoft recently announced the start of the public beta of Microsoft Forefront Client Security saying that it would provide:
"Unified malware protection for business desktops, laptops, and server operating systems that is easier to manage and control. Built on the same highly successful Microsoft protection technology already used by millions of people worldwide, Forefront Client Security helps guard against emerging threats, such as spyware and rootkits, as well as against traditional threats, such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. By delivering simplified administration through central management and providing critical visibility into threats and vulnerabilities, Forefront Client Security helps you protect your business with greater confidence and efficiency. Forefront Client Security integrates with your existing infrastructure software, such as Active Directory, and complements other Microsoft security technologies for better protection and greater control.
Forefront Client Security is currently in development. Microsoft plans to make a public beta of the product available to customers in the fourth quarter of 2006. Pricing and licensing will be announced at a later date.
The benefits offered by Microsoft Forefront Client Security include:
- Unified Protection: Forefront Client Security delivers unified protection from current and emerging malware, so you can feel confident that your business systems are better protected against a broad range of threats.
- Simplified Administration: Forefront Client Security provides simplified administration through central management, so you can protect your business with greater efficiency.
- Critical Visibility and Control: Forefront Client Security produces insightful, prioritized security reports and a summary dashboard view, so you have visibility and control over malware threats".
The solution includes anti-virus and anti-spam prevention mechanisms and mangement. Based purely on description, this looks like Microsoft will jump straight into competition with Spohos, a leader in this field. It will be interesting to monitor how things develop.