A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

Summary: According to sources, a new and as-still-officially-unannounced Microsoft managed service -- Forefront Online -- is under development. Forefront Online is going to be the business-focused equivalent of Microsoft's Live OneCare, Microsoft's all-in-one antivirus/antispyware/antiphishing/backup and restore service for consumers.

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It looks like the Softies weren't kidding when they said to expect Microsoft to deliver a Microsoft-managed version of nearly every one of its enterprise products.

The newest Microsoft-hosted service in the making: Forefront OnlineAccording to sources, a new and as-still-officially-unannounced Microsoft managed service -- Forefront Online -- is under development. Forefront Online is going to be the business-focused equivalent of Microsoft's Live OneCare, Microsoft's all-in-one antivirus/antispyware/antiphishing/backup and restore service for consumers.

Forefront is the uber-brand for a family of Microsoft enterprise security products that handle everything from Exchange security, to firewalling. In June 2007, Micrsoft officials said they had started work on the next-generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access solutions, plus a new, unified management console for these products. This group of offerings is known as Stirling. Stirling products will be tightly integrated with one another, as well as with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center.

Microsoft officials have said that its growing family of Microsoft managed services, which the company recently branded as "Online," is aimed at only large businesses (those with more than 5,000 PCs). Products that Microsoft is currently offering in this arena include Office Exchange Online, the Microsoft-hosted version of Exchange Server; Office SharePoint Online, the Microsoft-hosted version of SharePoint Server; and Office Communications Online, the Microsoft-hosted Office Communications Server. (Company execs also have said to expect Microsoft to field a Microsoft-managed business-intelligence offering, but won't say when to expect it.)

Forefront Online, according to sources, will be targeted at both mid-size and small-business customers who are interested in Microsoft managing their security from inside the cloud.

No word yet on when Microsoft plans to put the Forefront Online bundle on the price list. I've asked the company for comment, but I'm not expecting much.

Update: As predicted, no comment. From a Microsoft spokesperson: "In the future, we will look to evolve our security offerings with our Software + Services model to meet the needs of our customers.  However, we do not have additional details to share about Microsoft's strategy at this time."

Anyone out there in the small/mid-size business space interested in having their security managed by Microsoft?

Topics: Security, Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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19 comments
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  • Microsoft? Security?

    Surely you jest.
    Userama
    • Naw.

      Microsoft does offer pretty secure stuff, lately that is.

      IE7 has more security features than Firefox. Many news sites have noted this.

      Vista is so secure, it has hurt usability a bit, but it can be tweaked.

      OneCare happens to be one of the best rated AV programs in the country.

      I could go on and on, it's amazing how people don't know of Microsoft Security.

      Apple has just as many problems with security as well.
      quikboy
      • Thanks for enlightening me, Quikie.

        By the way, how's the weather in Redmond?
        Userama
        • I don't know

          I don't live there, or work there if you assume.

          So I guess it's wrong to stand up for a company you like, eh?
          quikboy
  • Is this serious!?

    Can't be serious!!! MS is selling the most insecure operating system in the universe, and then selling a security solution!? I think the best thing the civilized world could do is ban Windows computers from connecting to the Internet -- zombie networks would simply disappear, and spam would probably disappear, and spyware/adware/malware would disappear.
    scott1329
    • Right out of the Nazi handbook

      Do you honestly hope that if you obidiently regurgitate the tired old "MS is completely insecure" line that it will somehow become true? Who do you report to? Are you capable of independent thought? Get a life, do a little reading, and give up the goose stepping.
      jackbond
  • RE: A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

    Why not, if it is easier for poeple to maintain it?
    brunog@...
  • Microsoft security

    Can one expect the same standard of fault free operation of the security products as the Windows operating system which needs a new set of repairs every month?
    misceng
    • No problems for me

      I run WinUpdates all the time.

      I use IE7, with much more security features than Firefox.

      I have OneCare, an AV program that really works.

      I'm astonished that people don't know that the latest Microsoft stuff is full of security to the brink!
      quikboy
  • security managed by Microsoft?

    Microsoft security is a contradiction of terms.
    ator1940
    • No it's not

      Obviously, you haven't used the latest Microsoft products to know what security really means.
      quikboy
  • Conflict of Interest?

    While I applaude MS for attempting to make the security situation better, is this not a conflict of interest?

    It seems to me that this motivates them to ship buggy software.
    It gives them something to fix.

    The bank doesn't offer me an extra security fee.

    I don't pay extra at the car lot for a car that just works...
    milton@...
    • Leap of faith?

      You're assuming that they are CAPABLE of writing code that ISN'T buggy.

      This has to be a religious doctrine, because there is no evidence whatsoever to back up this idea! ;)
      critic-at-arms
      • You are assuming that non-buggy software

        ... can be written by any human. Grow up.
        Confused by religion
  • They call it "STIRLING"??? Truth in advertising!

    "Stirling" is a type of engine that runs on HOT AIR!

    Once again, the Redmond Rangers are telegraphing their moves so obviously that nobody will believe that they could be so transparent . . .

    Not to worry, OpenSuse 10.3 is available, and it is only one of a dozen major FREE Linux operating systems.
    critic-at-arms
  • Holy Cow!!!!

    Asking M$ to handle security is like asking a thief to guard a bank. Are they kidding!!!! Anyone who subscribes to this gets what they deserve.
    Dave32265
  • RE: A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

    Is it April 1st ? LMAO !!!

    But Seriously Folks, just check the M$ EULA for this "Service" and see if you could live with that or WILL IT BE THE DEATH OF YOU !!!
    torroid88@...
  • RE: A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

    We have been using Forefront online successfully for years for spam filtering and it works as well or better than anything else I have experience with. After Hurricane Ike we added to that service hosting that gives up a 30 backup of current email for all users and the ability of each to log via a web mail to send and receive mail in case their Exchange server is down due to power outage or a cable cut.
    krist@...
  • RE: A new Microsoft-hosted security service in the making: Forefront Online

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