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All For One: Microsoft Ups Its Security Software Tools

'Enterprises need a single, converged product that provides antivirus, anti-spam, personal firewall, and personal intrusion prevention,' Gartner analyst MacDonald says.

With the acquisition of Sybari Software Inc. last week, Microsoft made a another move to provide security software to protect its--and other vendors'--software from attacks.

Sybari is a developer of antivirus, anti-spam, and content-filtering software that protects various applications, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange, and SMTP Gateway E-mail systems. Sybari's antivirus application, Antigen, scans E-mail for viruses. It uses third-party antivirus engines from Computer Associates, Kaspersky Labs, Norman Data Defense, Sophos, and Virus Buster. Sybari has about 10,000 customers worldwide.

"We plan to ship product in the next few months," says Lucian Lui, director of product management for Microsoft's security business and technology unit. Antigen will continue to rely on the antivirus engines from Sybari's existing partners, and Microsoft eventually will make its antivirus engine, from GeCAD Software, available for it. Microsoft acquired GeCAD in June 2003.

Lui declined to discuss further details on Microsoft's development plans for Sybari, as the acquisition still faces regulatory approval.

Analysts offered their perspectives on the deal. "This sends a clear sign that Microsoft is entering the enterprise security market and that they're serious about providing a suite of security applications," says Neil MacDonald, a security analyst at Gartner.

Since Microsoft first made rumblings in 2003 that it would one day provide security software to its customers, Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc. have made moves to expand their security-software portfolios. In January, Symantec acquired storage and data-management provider Veritas Software Corp. for $13.5 billion. In 2003, McAfee acquired intrusion-prevention software makers IntruVert Networks and Entercept Security Technologies.

The security software market is consolidating, in part because many large companies want a one-stop shop when it comes to desktop security. "Enterprises need a single, converged product that provides managed antivirus, anti-spam, personal firewall, and personal intrusion prevention," MacDonald says. "They don't want four vendors and four consoles to manage each of these applications."

Return to main story, You Call This Trustworthy Computing?

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