Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

Summary: Microsoft may be discontinuing its Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) product, according to information from analysts with the Gartner Group. But Microsoft is neither completely confirming nor denying Gartner's assertion.

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Microsoft may be discontinuing its Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) product, according to information from analysts with the Gartner Group.

(I am qualifying this information with the word "may" because Microsoft is declining to provide a clear answer as to what's going on with its secure Web gateway product.)

Here's the back story. As noted by Deb Shinder, a blogger with TechRepublic and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Enterprise Security, Gartner omitted Forefront TMG from its May 25 Magic Quadrant report for secure Web gateways. Shinder explained:

"On  page 5 (of the Gartner report), you’ll find a statement that is likely to shock and dismay many Microsoft customers, which says that Microsoft has confirmed to Gartner that it is not going to be shipping another full version release of TMG. The report goes on to say that TMG is in sustaining mode and Microsoft doesn’t intend to compete head-to-head with other vendors in that space. The good news is that the usual five year mainstream/five year extended support lifecycle still applies."

I sent an e-mail asking Gartner's PR agency for further details and received no word back. I asked Microsoft officials for an update on Forefront TMG and received this reply:

"Microsoft remains committed to security and will continue to support our customers by providing support for TMG with service packs and other updates through the product’s lifecycle. While Gartner has shared its belief on how Microsoft plans to repurpose TMG technologies, we have no other updates at this time."

A May 28 blog post by security consultant Kent Nordstrom includes additional comment from Microsoft, claiming the company is still very much in the secure web gateway space, in spite of Gartner's comments.

Nordstrom speculated Microsoft might be combining its various gateway products, in preparation for moving the product to the cloud, but then later said his speculation wasn't entirely correct.

My read of all this is there will be no further releases of TMG, but Microsoft won't actually confirm that this is the case. Sigh.

Microsoft released the latest version of TMG, Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 Service Pack 1, in June 2010. The product provides URL filtering, antimalware inspection, intrusion prevention, application  proxy, and HTTP/HTTPS inspection via a single gateway. TMG is the successor to Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server.

Microsoft has been struggling with its Forefront deliverables and direction for the past couple of years. Microsoft recently announced that it is working on new security and identity products for both the server and cloud while it searches for a new head of its identity team.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, CXO, IT Priorities

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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15 comments
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  • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

    I see this as more of an indication that Microsoft will be rolling most of those services and products into a unified platform that will support non-Cloud and Cloud-centric needs instead of separate and possibly competing products. Since the product support by lifecycle is in place, I wouldn't necessarily call this an "abandonment" of TMG, but just a natural evolution of the existing service / product offering.
    ScottKin
  • Message has been deleted.

    X41
    • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

      @X41 Please try to have some intelligence when commenting.
      Djblois
    • Why?

      Why do you want hundreds of millions of people to just suddenly lose support?
      Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

      @X41

      But then what would you do with your time? You would have to find some other place wasting your time making ignorant and idiotic commentary. I truly pity you.
      bobiroc
    • Message has been deleted.

      Mr. Dee
  • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

    If anything they are integrating their security products with one another, unifying it into a platform. So the product itself may get pulled but its still going to exist in another form.
    LoverockDavidson
  • Maybe TMG will be rolled into UAG ?

    Maybe the firewall and proxy capabilities will be rolled into Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG)? UAG is best known for it's SSL VPN and DirectAccess features.
    JohnMorgan3
    • Re: Maybe TMG will be rolled into UAG?

      @YukioCowboy That would be my take on it as well. The entire Forefront Suite of products share little more than a name. Some integration and consolidation would go a long way in improving its usability.
      Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

      @YukioCowboy ... this would be my guess as well. I think unifying the Forefront brand a bit would be a very good thing.
      GoodThings2Life
      • RE: Did Microsoft just pull the plug on its secure Web gateway product?

        @GoodThings2Life

        TMG was rolled into UAG in the last relase, they are literally one and the same product now.
        omdguy
    • Another possibility

      Another option I saw mentioned at different site is that TMG will become just another role in Windows Server (and built in for free). <br><br>This is all very badly handled by Microsoft. I can't believe this is how we are hearing about it. Did they not expect it to get out???<br><br>Here are some more links related to this:<br><br><a href="http://blog.konab.com/2011/05/what-will-happen-with-tmg/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://blog.konab.com/2011/05/what-will-happen-with-tmg/</a><br><br><a href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/the-demise-of-threat-management-gateway-is-microsoft-backing-away-from-the-edge/4387" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/the-demise-of-threat-management-gateway-is-microsoft-backing-away-from-the-edge/4387</a>
      JohnMorgan3
  • Let the little guys have it

    I could see why the lawyers in a lot of big companies would suggest that this is a product area best left to smaller firms that can be sued out of existence without causing a major disruption in The Force.

    It's only a matter of time before one of these outfits like Sony that gets whacked for a bunch of privacy data sues their Security Software Provider.

    The liability is so huge, you don't even want to be standing near it when it happens.
    Robert Hahn
  • Any news on this yet?

    Any news on this yet?
    JohnMorgan3
  • I wish I could not understand

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