Forefront worth a look, analyst says

It’s neither better nor worse than others, but Microsoft Corp.’s security offerings under its Forefront Security brand is worth taking a good look at, according to one Canadian IT security analyst.

Putting “Microsoft” and “security” together in the same context may sound “a bit oxymoronic,” but the software giant’s active push into the enterprise IT security space deserve some attention from businesses, said James Quin, senior research analyst at Info-Tech Research in London, Ont.

“[Microsoft] has taken the opportunity to sit back, evaluate the market, understand what the needs of the marketplace are, and are now supplying the solutions that deliver that,” said Quin.

Microsoft recently launched Forefront Client Security, its latest security offering under the Forefront banner. Forefront Client Security, an anti-malware and antivirus tool for desktops and servers, has joined the growing line up of Forefront Security products, including Forefront Security for Exchange, Forefront Security for Sharepoint and Live Communication Server, Internet Security and Acceleration Server and Intelligent Application Gateway.

Forefront Client Security offers businesses a centralized tool for managing security across desktops and servers, explained Derick Wong, senior product manager, security and management at Microsoft Canada.

“In the past, the problem with security tools is that they were all point product tools, and point product tools were never meant to work together,” said Wong.

If Microsoft’s push into the browser space several years ago is any indication, the industry can expect nothing from the Redmond firm other than an aggressive play for the security market, Quin noted. “When Microsoft decides to get into a market it does what it takes to get into that market.”

It also doesn’t hurt that Microsoft has a huge installed base for its Windows platform, giving Forefront Security the advantage of better integration with other Microsoft products, and third-party security vendors some serious competition. “There’s nothing in Forefront that really makes it notably better or worse than any other solutions that are already in the marketplace. However, the Microsoft name may be sufficient for it to steal market share, and a better integration with other Microsoft solutions…is likely to be a bit of a differentiator,” said Quin.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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