It's been a while since Microsoft has shared information on "Stirling," the all-in-one security suite the company is assembling.
Microsoft is planning to release a public beta of Stirling -- the suite of Forefront client, server and edge security products, wrapped in a unified management and reporting console -- for delivery some time in the next three months. Microsoft's projected target date for the final release of Stirling is first half of 2009.
Stirling already is in private testing. In late February, Microsoft put out feelers to extend its pool of Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners interested in testing the suite.
("Stirling" takes its codename from Stirling Castle in Scotland. Stirling Castle sits atop the Castle Hill, “a volcanic crag, and is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, making it easily defensible.)
In 2006, Microsoft rebranded a number of products in its security portfolio (ISA, Antigen Antivirus and anti-spam solution, among other products) as “Forefront.” In June 2007, company officials said Microsoft had started work on the next-generation versions of its Forefront security products, which would be whipped into a suite and codenamed Stirling. At that time, Microsoft said the Stirling components wpi;d be tightly integrated with one another, as well as with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center.
I'm not quite sure how another Microsoft enterprise-security offering I've heard is in the wings -- Forefront Online -- fits in with Stirling. Forefront Online is the Microsoft-hosted version of certain members of the Forefront family, my sources have said. If and when it debuts, it will be one of a growing stable of Microsoft-hosted services that the Redmondians are planning to sell to companies of all sizes.
Speaking of security, Microsoft announced on March 20 that it had acquired rootkit-detection vendor Komoku for an undisclosed amount.