Microsoft Plans Enterprise Antivirus Effort

During the company's monthly security briefing, a key security executive confirmed that Microsoft intends to make available for its large corporate accounts antivirus like the one that will be part and parcel of the Windows OneCare service for small businesses and home users that was unveiled May 13.

"We'll have an enterprise version," but Microsoft needs to offer centralized management capabilities before launching such a service for corporate customers, said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft Security Business and Technology Unit. He declined to provide additional details about an enterprise version or when it would launch.

The Windows OneCare service, formerly code-named A1, is expected to move into its first round of beta testing this summer and full public beta later this year, Microsoft security executives said during the briefing on Tuesday.

Nash did not say when an enterprise version might be offered but one source familiar with its plans said it will not be ready before the next version of Windows code-named "Longhorn" unless there are major delays with the Windows upgrade, now scheduled to ship in 2006.

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He added that Microsoft is considering releasing two "flavors," of antivirus for corporate customers --one for Microsoft Business Solutions and another for enterprise customers as part of their various licensing schemes.

"That's the MBS vs. Enterprise option in all probability. Enterprises will need to interface the service to asset management and load set image management and they're not likely to agree to let Microsoft hit machines directly MBS [customers] may not care," said the source, who declined to be named.

The Windows OneCare consumer service, which will go into testing this year, will provide PC protection through antivirus, antispyware, two-way firewall, backup and restore and tuning tools--is a new category for providing comprehensive PC security and health services.