REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 9, 2006 – Microsoft’s commitment to customers in the area of security is to ensure the highest degree of quality in Microsoft software, to deliver new security technology innovations in the Windows platform, and to invest in and develop security products and services that will evolve to meet future business and IT security needs.
In advance of next week’s RSA Conference 2006 (Feb. 13-17 in San Jose, Calif.), PressPass spoke with Ted Kummert, corporate vice president, Security, Access and Solutions Division, Server and Tools Business, at Microsoft to understand how security products are helping customers better manage and address current and future security challenges.
PressPass: What are you announcing today? And how is customer feedback driving the evolution of Microsoft’s security products?
Ted Kummert: We’re announcing several security product milestones: the beta availability of Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA) 2006, early select customer betas of both Microsoft Client Protection and Microsoft Antigen for Exchange, and the acquisition of the DynaComm i:filter Web filtering product from FutureSoft, Inc., a privately held company, based in Houston, Tex.
These new products reflect feedback we’re getting from customers in three key areas. First, our customers are looking for solutions that reduce the complexity of securing their networks; second, they want greater protection from a diverse range of threats; and finally, they want solutions that integrate with their existing infrastructure.
These concerns are not at all surprising. Customers today are facing a broader, more complex and diversely motivated threat landscape. With each new threat, they have to take reactive steps to deploy another solution at another point in their network, which increases the cost and complexity of managing security in their environment. This is a situation which Microsoft is looking to address both from a platform and a product perspective.
PressPass: Tell us about ISA Server 2006, which is being made available in a public beta version.
Kummert: ISA Server 2006 is key to Microsoft’s security product strategy at the network edge and part of our commitment to provide secure-anywhere access to corporate applications and data. Like previous versions, ISA Server 2006 integrates the strength of an application layer firewall with VPN, proxy and Web-caching functionalities. It provides enhanced security by integrating with the Microsoft Windows application infrastructure. And we’ve built in deployment and management tools to reduce our customers’ costs and simplify their user experience.
PressPass: How will customers benefit from deploying the new version of ISA Server?
Kummert: Through its tool set for publishing Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint Servers, ISA Server 2006 enables businesses to provide employees and partners with more secure remote access to business applications from PCs or mobile devices. The combined firewall, VPN and Web-caching capabilities of ISA Server 2006 enable businesses to more securely connect remote branch offices to their corporate headquarters, while providing fast Internet access from branch offices. ISA Server 2006 provides a single solution with common management infrastructure and a common set of tools and user interfaces as well as a wide array of partner appliance solutions to further simplify deployment across organizations.
PressPass: What role does the acquisition of the DynaComm i:filter Web-filtering product play in strengthening Microsoft’s security product offering?
Kummert: This is a product that enables business customers to manage access to the Web in their environments. In addition to productivity concerns associated with unmanaged Web access, phishing attacks, malicious Web sites and other Web-based threats are leading to a growing security concern for our customers. Consequently, enabling customers to manage Web access in their environments is an important area of focus for our edge security offering. The acquisition of FutureSoft’s DynaComm i:filter technology is another example of our broader commitment to providing a more comprehensive and integrated security offering to our customers while simplifying the user experience.
PressPass: Why did you acquire DynaComm i:filter from FutureSoft?
Kummert: We were impressed with DynaComm i:filter’s rich database and comprehensive management feature set. We believe this product will help us better address customer needs for more secure and productive Web access. It’s a product which already integrates with ISA Server and we will be looking at ways to deepen that integration, and simplify the user experience. Though it won’t be made available immediately, this product will help us deliver an additional layer of defense to our customers in future releases. We’ve acquired only the Web filtering product from FutureSoft. The company remains independent following this product acquisition.
PressPass: Microsoft has now made several acquisitions in the security space. What can you tell us about Sybari products?
Kummert: Microsoft acquired Sybari last year to provide enhanced, server-level protection for our customers’ messaging and collaboration environments. Microsoft Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager and Antigen Enterprise Manager are the first Microsoft-branded versions of the former Sybari products. Today, we’re announcing that these products are in private beta and are expected to be generally available within six months. These new e-mail security products have completed the Microsoft Security Design Lifecycle (SDL) review, ensuring that they meet Microsoft’s security standards for code development. The Microsoft-branded Antigen products also include the Microsoft Antivirus scan engine providing customers with an additional “in-the-box” engine to further protect their e-mail and collaboration environments.
PressPass: You are also making an announcement pertaining to Microsoft Client Protection. What can customers look forward to?
Kummert: Microsoft Client Protection is a new security product that helps protect business desktops, laptops and servers from emerging threats such as spyware and rootkits, as well as viruses and other traditional attacks. The product utilizes an integrated management console that provides centralized control and reporting. It also integrates with existing Microsoft IT infrastructure such as Active Directory and other software distribution systems, helping to reduce deployment time and maximize value.
Today we’re announcing that an early beta version of Microsoft Client Protection has been shipped to select customers. Customer feedback on this early beta will be key to helping us refine the product and better meet customer needs. We plan to make the full-featured public beta version of Microsoft Client Protection available in the third quarter of this year and the product is targeted for release to manufacturing by the end of 2006.
PressPass: With new and enhanced security products set for release today, what can customers expect next?
Kummert: Our goal and mission is to help our customers become more secure. We’re committed to providing security technologies today and in the future that simplify the security equation for our customers and enable them to protect and utilize their IT infrastructure and business assets to the fullest extent possible. Meeting these key customer requirements for ease of use, comprehensive protection and seamless integration is driving security product strategy at Microsoft.