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Microsoft Recasts Its Security Products For Business

The company's PC, server, and network security products get rebranded under the Forefront name.
Microsoft plans to launch a new line of security products to unify the antivirus, anti-spam, and data encryption technologies it has been building and acquiring.

Microsoft currently sells or is testing security software under four brands: Microsoft Client Protection for business PCs, Windows Live OneCare for home PCs, Antigen for servers, and ISA Server for analyzing network traffic. It's unifying the business security software under the brand name Forefront. The OneCare brand will persist as a consumer-oriented Web service.

Microsoft Client Protection is being relabeled Forefront Client Security. The software is in alpha test now. A beta version is due in the fourth quarter, with general release slated for the first half of next year.

Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Forefront Security for SharePoint are due later this year. They will be rebranded versions of Microsoft's Antigen software, which came with last year's acquisition of Sybari Software. The products use multiple anti-spam and antivirus engines to detect threats.

After Microsoft releases the next version of its Windows server operating system, code-named Longhorn Server and due in 2007, it plans to release a version of its ISA Server for analyzing network traffic that bears the Forefront name. Shorter term, Microsoft plans to release ISA Server 2006 in September.

Microsoft has been moving aggressively into the security market. In addition to Sybari, the company in the past two years bought GeCAD, a Romanian maker of antivirus software, and Giant Software, which made a spyware removal tool. Last month, Microsoft acquired Whale Communications, a maker of virtual private networking and firewall software that can protect SAP and other applications. That technology could become part of the rebranded ISA Server over time.

Forefront products for PCs, servers, and network traffic will be available separately and as a suite, according to Steve Brown, director of product management for Microsoft's security unit. The goal is to simplify installation of Microsoft's security products and integrate them better with the company's other applications as new threats arise, he says.

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