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Microsoft Releases 'Stirling' Beta

Next-generation of Forefront security line integrates Forefront products, includes management console

SAN FRANCISCO -- RSA 2008 Conference -- Microsoft here yesterday released the first public beta version of the next generation of its Forefront security line of products, code-named "Stirling." The final product will be available in the first half of next year. (See Microsoft Unwraps Security Platform.)

Stirling integrates Microsoft’s Forefront Client Security, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Forefront Security for SharePoint, and Forefront Threat Management (the new name for Internet Security and Acceleration Server, or ISA Server), and includes a central security management console for coordinating and reporting on security across those tools.

It’s an overall integrated security system that [lets all] of the Forefront products communicate with one another, says Paul Bryan, director of product management for Forefront security products. “It provides visibility and control in the security system... versus having separate products."

Bryan says Stirling also unifies security policy for Forefront users. The management console lets them set policies, configure, and deploy security parameters from a central site. Security experts have called Stirling’s integration of security from the server to the endpoint to the edge an aggressive move by Microsoft, which first announced Stirling last June.

Microsoft’s so-called “dynamic response” interface built into each Forefront product is the glue that lets each product share and use security information from one another to automatically mediate threats.

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