Microsoft is on the cusp of releasing their desktop security products to the corporate world. This suite is called Microsoft Forefront Client Security (formerly Microsoft Client Protection) and it is designed to meet the security needs of corporate desktops, laptops and servers.
Microsoft has already been very successful with its beta consumer-desktop security product, Windows OneCare Live. OneCare is a subscription-based model that handles your antivirus/antispyware protection, combined with PC health tools such as automatic defrag and the ability to back up your system.
And, now that they have tackled the consumer industry, they want to make headway in the corporate sector by taking on security giants like Symantec, Trend Micro, and McAfee.
The good news, for end-users anyway, is Forefront will meet your corporate server and desktop security needs. I believe this subscription-based web services model is really going to be a breakaway hit for the Redmond giant.
Forefront differs from the consumer version in that it is made for the corporate world, protecting corporate desktop computers and servers from viruses, spyware, and rootkits. Forefront will also tie directly into your Active Directory infrastructure and provide your company with a central management for overall administration. Furthermore, it will integrate seamlessly within your Microsoft infrastructure.
If you have an existing software distribution, Forefront can fully take advantage of it. If you do not currently own a software distribution package, Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) will be bundled with Forefront.
Many of you are already tied tightly to Microsoft products. And, since you probably have license agreements set up with Microsoft, it makes good business sense to allow Microsoft products to handle your security. You may also be better off financially going with Forefront as Microsoft may cut you a licensing deal for running multiple products.
As far as I am concerned, moving towards a product like this is an easy sell if most of your infrastructure contains Microsoft server and desktop products.
Implementation is often a sticking point when adding a new product or service. We all dislike lengthy implementations because it takes your staff away from other important issues or forces you to spend unwanted consulting dollars.
With Forefront, you can easily take advantage of the Microsoft-savvy employees you have on hand to help implement Forefront into your environment. You will not have to get training and buy-in from your IT staff to learn a whole new security product or way of thinking.
Forefront is a win-win solution to your security needs for everyone from management to IT Administrators, and down to the corporate desktop user. Give them what they are used to in order to make their lives integrate easily into this product without excessive training.
On the hardware side, Forefront requires Windows 2003 Server SP1 or Windows 2000 Server SP4. The software is aimed to protect Windows 2000 SP4, Window XP SP2 or later, Windows 2003, and Windows VistaLonghorn Server.
You can download the public beta of Forefront Client Security today. Let's be honest, if your IT staff could spend less time on viruses, malware, and spyware and more time on other mission critical IT needs, wouldn’t you make the leap?