Microsoft is making available for download the Release Candidate (RC) test build of its Forefront Endpoint Protection client software.
Forefront Endpoint Protection is the new name for Forefront Client Security (FCS). Microsoft reiterated on November 8 that the product is still on track to be released to manufacturing before the end of calendar 2010. Microsoft announced the RC availability on the opening day of its TechEd Europe conference in Berlin on November 8.
Microsoft made available in July a beta of Forefront Endpoint Protection (as well as a beta of its free sibling, the updated version of Microsoft Security Essentials). The new version of MSE is also slated to ship before the end of this year.
Forefront Endpoint Protection -- which is based on System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 -- is designed to provide security for XP, Windows Server 2003 and all subsequent versions of Windows client and server. The coming release includes the same anti-virus engine that is part of MSE; new behavioral threat detection; better protection against "unknown" and "zero day" threats; Windows Firewall management; and on-demand signature updates from the cloud.
Microsoft is pitching Forefront client as its security offering for business users of any size, from the smallest business to the largest enterprise. It is pitching MSE as being for consumers, and, as a couple of months ago, small businesses with up to 10 PCs.