Microsoft testing malware protection for Azure virtual machines

Testers can download for free Microsoft Endpoint Protection for Windows Azure, a new plug-in for VM protection.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has released a technology preview test build of Microsoft Endpoint Protection (MEP) for Windows Azure, which is designed to allow developers and admins to add antimalware protection to their Azure virtual machines.

The MEP tech preview for Windows Azure can be downloaded by anyone for free and installs on top of the Azure software development kit (SDK) 1.6 or later. The MEP antimalware module is imported into the roles' definition. The module includes SDK extensions to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio

(click on diagram above to enlarge)

Microsoft officials are not providing a release date target for the final version of MEP for Azure.

According to Microsoft, the MEP plug-in on Azure provides alerts in cases where seeming malware, spyware or unintended software attempts to install or run on a virtual machine; scheduled scanning for malware, threats, viruses and spyware; malware deletion and quarantining; signature updates; and other typical EndPoint Protection features.

Microsoft EndPoint Protection may be the latest name for Microsoft's paid business-security client known as ForeFront EndPoint Protection. (I say "may be" here  because Microsoft seems to be in the midst of changing how it uses the "Forefront" branding.) The next version of Forefront Endpoint Protection client seems to have been rebranded as System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection.

Currently, Forefront Endpoint Protection client provides security for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and subsequent versions of Windows client and server. The product includes the same anti-virus engine that is part of Microsoft Security Essentials -- the free, consumer- and small-business-focused security client.

In other Microsoft cloud news, the SQL Azure Labs team has released yet another trial product. This one is codenamed "Trust Services." A description of Trust Services explains it as the following:

"Microsoft Codename 'Trust Services' is an application-level encryption framework that can be used to protect sensitive data stored on the Windows Azure Platform. Data encrypted with Trust Services can only be decrypted by authorized data consumers. This empowers data publishers to freely distribute and share data by first encrypting the data using Trust Services. Consumers of sensitive data encrypted with Trust Services can have full confidence that the data cannot be viewed by anyone who is not authorized."

Like other SQL Azure Labs projects, Trust Services may or may not ultimately be incorporated into a future SQL Azure release.

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