BARCELONA, Nov. 13, 2007 — Microsoft today unveiled the new Forefront Server Security Management Console, a centralized, Web-based management solution for onsite or remote administration of Microsoft messaging and collaboration security solutions.
Today’s announcement builds on Microsoft’s momentum in the global enterprise security market, where Microsoft’s strategy to provide more simplified and integrated security and management technologies has been strongly embraced by customers.
PressPass spoke with Margaret Arakawa, senior director of Security & Access Product Marketing at Microsoft, about this milestone and how it fits into Microsoft’s broader strategy and commitment to customers.
PressPass: What is the Forefront Server Security Management Console?
Arakawa: It’s a Web-based tool that helps businesses centrally manage, configure, report on and update multiple deployments of Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Forefront Security for SharePoint, as well as Microsoft Antigen products. Today’s launch represents Microsoft’s continued progress on our long-term integrated security and management strategy and roadmap that we laid out for customers earlier this year.
PressPass: At last year’s IT Forum you released Forefront Sever Security for Exchange, and you followed that with several more products. How’s that going?
Arakawa: We’ve seen significant demand from customers across the complete product portfolio, from client to server to network edge security. On the application server side, customer adoption is really accelerating with organizations worldwide. We’re now protecting more than 20 percent of Exchange on-premise mailboxes with Forefront Security for Exchange Server. On the collaboration server side, Microsoft has seen tremendous customer demand for our Microsoft Office SharePoint Server solution. As SharePoint becomes a mission-critical collaboration application where customers store confidential and sensitive materials, customers are realizing the importance of protecting it. The unique capabilities that Forefront Security for SharePoint delivers that have made it the market leading solution include multiple scanning engines, Rights Management Server (RMS) integration, advanced content filtering, and deep integration with Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Further evidence of customer demand can be seen with our unprecedented number of Forefront product evaluation downloads and trials — more than 1.2 million in the last 12 months.
To ensure that customers have the best possible deployment and solutions experience with these products, we’re focused on building the industry’s leading security partner ecosystem. We’re very excited about the progress that has been made over the past 12 months as we have added more than 5,000 new partners, including more than 800 partners in our Security Solutions Competency.
We have also continued to innovate with new products. Over the past 12 months, we’ve had five product launches — the Forefront Server Security Management Console we’re announcing today, Forefront Security for SharePoint, Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Intelligent Application Gateway 2007, and Forefront Client Security.
PressPass: What sorts of customers are using these products?
Arakawa: We’ve seen broad adoption of our Forefront client and server products, as well as our edge security and access products by large enterprise customers worldwide in industries from canned foods to paper to air travel. We’ve published a number of case studies on our Web site that highlight these customers. Over the past year, Del Monte moved to Forefront Security for Exchange, and the Vienna International Airport made a similar migration with great success. Other large enterprises with critical communications needs are benefiting from our various products, such as Cable & Wireless, Northwest Airlines, Koehler Paper, T-Systems, Paul Smith and many others.
PressPass: Why has Forefront’s business accelerated so much in the past year?
Arakawa: We entered this market because customers were asking us to make security easier to manage and integrate. This is why we remain focused on providing products that simplify the security and access experience, while maintaining comprehensive protection and integrating seamlessly with an organization’s IT infrastructure. Customers have told us that they are choosing our products because our approach is comprehensive and integrated, and yet we’ve managed to keep things simple in terms of management.
PressPass: How have you accomplished that?
Arakawa: Forefront provides protection across the entire infrastructure, from clients to servers and applications, to network security and secure remote access. So, for customers who want to reduce the number of “point” security products and number of management consoles that they have to deal with, Forefront is an ideal solution.
As for integration and simplicity in systems management, this is really two sides of the same coin. Forefront works seamlessly across a range of technologies already familiar to IT staff — Systems Center Operations Manager, Windows Server Update Services, Systems Center Configuration Manager, Active Directory, SharePoint and others.
PressPass: What can we expect next from Forefront?
Arakawa: Last June we announced our newest Forefront product, currently codenamed “Stirling.” With that release we’re taking an industry-leading approach to the concept of integrated and centralized management, enabling customers to take advantage of information gathered at any point in the network to better protect the environment as a whole. Client, server and network edge protection are connected together with a central management console that not only gets information from all three areas but can control the technologies at those endpoints. “Stirling” brings together clients, servers and the edge into a cohesive whole.
The benefit to customers is not just centralized visibility and control, but also information from the client environment that can be used to guide policy for server applications, for example. This will provide a better way for IT managers to centrally set policy, configure, deploy and manage security within their IT environment, making management of an organization’s IT infrastructure much easier and more cost-effective.
“Stirling” will include the next-generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access solutions. Customers can invest in our Forefront solutions today and be assured of an easy upgrade path to “Stirling” from current products and licenses.