Microsoft Makes Security The ‘ForeFront’

BOSTON — Microsoft  officials introduced a new brand of security software, called ForeFront, at the company’s Tech Ed 2006 event here Sunday night.

Bob Muglia, senior vice president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, said ForeFront will include Forefront Client Security, and enhanced version of the company’s Microsoft Client Protection software for protecting desktops, laptops and server operating systems from viruses and other threats.

Muglia, who indicated the software is an attempt to modernize the product and make it more proactive for protecting computers, said an early beta version has been made available to some customers, with a public beta planned for the fourth quarter.

ForeFront was the most notable unveiling to underscore the company’s new “People Ready Business” plan for empowering developers and IT professionals through new software.

Muglia said Microsoft plans to prepare for this wave with the ‘People Ready Business’ plan to helping developers manage complexity and achieve agility; protect information, control access; advance the business with IT solutions; and amplify the impact of people.

The concept is rooted in the notion of helping programmers build secure software that has the flexibility to help customers adapt to business changes as they occur and better complete their tasks.

To underscore these efficiencies, Muglia and technical officials offered a handful of software demonstrations.

These included how the company’s Windows Server Virtualization technologies can be used to reallocate computing resources, as well as how the new Windows Compute Cluster 2003 can be used to accelerate Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet application.

Chris Capossela, corporate vice president, information worker product management group, followed Muglia by announcing that Exchange Server 2007 beta 2 will be available to customers and partners by the end of July.

Exchange Server 2007, a core tool for helping employees collaborate, will include new mobile functionality, such as searching on a device, better meeting request utilities, and support for HTML e-mail and message flagging.

The products and people-oriented direction is an answer to what CTO Ray Ozzie prophesied in his opening comments as the coming “services disruption.”

Ozzie’s services disruption theory, which he outlined for Microsoft employees in a memo last fall, is rooted in the notion that the high-tech world is being galvanized by the proliferation of Internet-based services.

These services work independently of one another, yet cleanly interact despite the different infrastructure and devices they traverse.

“Services disruption is an era in which Internet-based services will fundamentally transform the way that we decide, deploy, manage and use enterprise infrastructure and business solutions,” Ozzie said.

Ozzie did some product launching of his own: Microsoft Dynamics AX version 4.0, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application.

Ozzie said customers can use Web services utilities in this software to solve problems that exist across systems that have different pieces of equipment and software infrastructure.

The more than two-hour keynote yielded some enthusiasm and comedy relief in the form of actress/comic Mary Lynn Rajskub, perhaps best know for her recurring role as high-tech guru Chloe O’Brien on Fox’ “24.”

Rajskub bantered with the audience and Muglia, adding some life to the demonstrations of software the company used to emphasize the People Ready Business plan.

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