RealTime IT News

Microsoft Security Appliance Goes to Market

Microsoft may still be the dominant software power in the world, but the company isn't above using a piece of hardware every now and then, especially when it comes to fortifying its security portfolio.

The software maker released today its Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) virtual private network (VPN) appliance, an integral piece of the company's much-ballyhooed ForeFront security platform.

Intelligent Application Gateway (IAG) 2007 defends the network edge from intruders, secures network endpoints, and safeguards applications, all while allowing users to connect to their corporate network and the Web from a laptop, PC or handheld device from anywhere.

The appliance arrives less than a week before Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates kicks off the keynote sessions at the RSA Conference 2007 in San Francisco, where hundreds of vendors will convene to tout anything from network access control (NAC) to data leakage and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

IAG 2007 combines the SSL VPN and Web application firewall assets it picked up with its Whale Communications purchase last year, with Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA Server).

The Whale acquisition led research firm Gartner to identify Microsoft as a "visionary," in the SSL VPN market; with IAG 2007, Microsoft has jumped into a competitive fray with Juniper Networks , Cisco Systems and Aventail.

IAG 2007 joins Forefront Security for Exchange Server, Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint, ForeFront Server Management and Microsoft Antigen for application server protection and ForeFront Client Security to keep PCs, laptops and mobile handhelds out of harm's way.

Microsoft said the software from IAG 2007 is available in pre-installed and configured appliances from Celestix Networks and Network Engines. Microsoft also said it now offers all-in-one pricing for the gateway and the intelligent application optimizers, network connectors and security modules developed for applications.

Client access licenses will now be based on the number of authenticated users or devices connecting to IAG appliances rather than on concurrent users.

In related news, Microsoft said more than 100 networking and security partners have pledged support for Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP), a policy enforcement software engine platform built into the Windows Vista operating system and the upcoming version of Windows Server, or Longhorn.

NAP, Microsoft's version of NAC, will allow IT administrators to preserve network assets by enforcing compliance. With NAP, users will be able to create and maintain customized policies to validate computer health before allowing access or communication.

More than 40 of the working NAP solutions will be shown to the public at the RSA Conference, including demonstrations of NAP working with networking gear from Cisco , Nortel Networks and ProCurve Networking by HP .