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Microsoft Unwraps Security Product Betas, Delves Into Web Filtering

As next week&'s RSA Conference approaches, Microsoft unveiled a public beta of its next-generation ISA 2006 firewall as well as early customer betas of business products Microsoft Client Protection and Microsoft Antigen for Exchange.

Also on Thursday, Microsoft said it acquired a Web filtering product from FutureSoft called DynaComm i:filter.

ISA 2006, due to ship in the second half of this year, offers new support for SharePoint Portal Server and Windows SharePoint Services, LDAP-based and smart-card authentication, vendor support for multifactor authentication and Radius servers, Microsoft said.

Microsoft also released an early customer beta of Microsoft Client Protection, a business product that combines antivirus, antispyware and antimalware. The software is easy to manage and offers customers management and reporting capabilities, Microsoft said. The long-awaited business offering, which incorporates the GeCAD antivirus engine, will be available for public beta testing in the third quarter, Microsoft said.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also announced early customer beta of Antigen for Exchange, another antivirus product. The Microsoft-branded product is due out during the second half of the year. Obtained as part of Microsoft's Sybari acquisition last fall, the product incorporates multiple antivirus engines and will support the Microsoft Client Protection antivirus engine. It also has been enhanced with clustering and antispam support.

The DynaComm i:filter software, currently available as a plugin for ISA 2004, will block users from inappropriate content and Web sites that may expose them to phishing attacks. By acquiring the Web filtering application from FutureSoft, Microsoft will go up against ISV partners such as SurfControl and Websense. Plans call for Microsoft to take the existing plugin off the market as it preps its branded offering.

Microsoft security product announcements laid to rest some uncertainty about its expanding security services portfolio. Steve Brown, director of product management for Microsoft's Security Access and Solutions Division, said the upgraded firewall and new antivirus offerings for businesses will go a long way toward securing customers' desktop, server and edge computing needs. He said channel partners will be authorized to sell all four offerings when they are released to the marketplace.

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