Exec: How Microsoft Taps Partners for Security

At the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, PressPass spoke with Mark Hassall to learn more about evolutions in business security

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

July 11, 2007

3 Min Read

DENVER -- In June and July of 2006, Microsoft officially entered the business security market with the launch of the Forefront line of security products spanning the client, server, and network edge, and the launch of the Security Software Advisor (SSA) program for partners.

Today at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, PressPass spoke with Mark Hassall to learn more about evolutions in business security, and how Microsoft is working with partners to take advantage of the opportunities.

PressPass: It’s been one year since you launched the Security Software Advisor program. How have you seen partners get involved and build out a security practice?

Hassall: The response has been tremendous, as we now have over 4,000 partners in the program, and they are actively submitting claims and taking advantage of the business opportunities. Delivering solutions and services based on Forefront is enabling these partners to pursue new opportunities, broaden and deepen their relationships with customers, and to be valued as trusted IT advisors. We’ve trained thousands of security partners through online webcasts and boot camps and this year. Microsoft is also investing an additional $50M in sales, marketing, training and other support for its security business.

Partners throughout the security industry have been quick to recognize the opportunities inherent with selling Forefront. Many of our partners are deeply involved in providing security assessments and architectural guidance and are already leveraging the infrastructure optimization model to deliver more secure and well managed infrastructure solutions based on Forefront and System Center. There are lots of opportunities to attach Forefront to infrastructure solutions, for example securing Exchange and SharePoint deployments, where Forefront offers greater protection and control through integration with customers existing IT infrastructure. One of our resellers, CompuCom is forecasting a Forefront attach rate of between 10-20 percent on SharePoint and Exchange deals. Other good examples include attaching Forefront Client Security to Windows Vista desktop deployments, and our network edge products, ISA Server and IAG to secure remote access and remote offices.

PressPass: What are the changes you are seeing in business security amongst your customers?

Hassall: Customers are increasingly faced with more advanced security attacks and find it difficult to efficiently deploy and manage security solutions. What we’ve seen in the last few years is the proliferation of new kinds of security threats – spyware, phishing, rootkits, etc. In response to each new threat, companies are forced to deploy new point solutions, and it’s become a management nightmare trying to manage all these different solutions. So companies are really looking for security that is “baked in” to their infrastructure – security that’s consolidated on a single management platform that stretches from the server room to the desktop and out to the network edge.

We’ve responded in the last year with the launch of ten security products across the client, the server, and the network edge – products like ISA 2006, Forefront Security for Exchange, Forefront Security for SharePoint, IAG 2007 and Forefront Client Security. These products integrate well with existing Microsoft infrastructure, and now we’re going to be taking it to the next level. Last month, we announced our next generation Forefront security solution codenamed “Stirling” – a unified product that provides comprehensive, integrated protection from the desktop, to servers, to the network edge, all managed from a single console. “Stirling” will include the next-generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access solutions, plus a unified management console. With one management console, “Stirling” enables IT managers to centrally set policy, configure, deploy and manage security within their IT environment. With “Stirling,” taking control of securing and managing an organization’s IT infrastructure becomes easier and more cost-effective.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

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