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Microsoft Tackles Enterprise Messaging Security

Microsoft launches a line of enterprise e-mail security products for its Exchange server software as the company's first venture into corporate security since it bought Sybari Software 16 months ago.
"They're very serious about security. But they also know that this is one of the big areas where they have to do a good job," added Pawlak.

Characterizing the Antigen messaging security family as "another option for companies," Pawlak noted that some enterprises will turn to Microsoft for anti-virus and anti-spam scanning. "They'd rather have a single vendor" when it comes to support, he said, instead of dealing with the hassles of cross-vendor support.

One of Microsoft's rivals in the overall security space, and in message security specifically, disagreed.

"When it comes to security, people know that just good is not good enough," said McAfee's spokeswoman Siobhan MacDermott. "Microsoft's [security products] are just not as good as a single-point vendor."

McAfee and its ilk, which service heterogeneous environments and offer best-of-brand protection and filtering technologies, are by default a better choice, she said. And then there's the anti-Microsoft anxieties that some companies suffer.

"Companies, especially very large companies, don't want a single vendor providing both the OS, or in this case the OS of the mail server, as well as security," MacDermott claimed. "It's like letting the fox guard the henhouse. Microsoft may know its products [such as Exchange] but they are arguably the reason why security vendors exist."

In April, McAfee rolled out Total Protection, an all-in-one solution that lets enterprises and small business users manage all the company's security components from one console.

McAfee will also bring its SiteAdvisor service, which is now only targeting consumers, to corporations, said MacDermott. "Today's it's a consumer play, but we'll integrate that into our enterprise offerings as well, to bring safe search there."

By 3:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday, as the NASDAQ dropped .57 percent and the Dow .78 percent, McAfee's stock was down 13 cents (or .55 percent) to $23.40, while the other two major security companies, Symantec and Trend Micro, were off 2.24 percent and 3.74 percent, respectively. Microsoft, meanwhile, was down $.45 (2 percent) to $22.05.

The trial versions of Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, and Antigen Enterprise Manager can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site.

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Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing