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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Microsoft Corp is preparing a second version of its enterprise firewall Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, focusing on application-level security and XML web services.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said Friday it is finalizing plans for a second, full version of its firewall nearly two years after ISA Server debuted.

Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Microsoft's security business unit, said Microsoft planned a beta this year, but was unable to provide an exact date for the beta or final product delivery.

Nash said version 2.0 would appeal to users as "an application-level firewall and beyond" moving up from a layer-four packet filter firewall.

ISA Server 1.0 already has application firewall capabilities, in addition to packet filtering, but many customers who deployed Microsoft's product use it in addition to an existing, trusted firewall product.

The company hopes version 2.0 will help coax users off these alternatives.

Zachary Gutt, ISA Server team technical product manager, said Microsoft's roadmap includes support for XML web services including ability to inspect messages written in Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).

Support will be expanded for protocols and applications, via filters. Microsoft views ISA Server as an engine to which are added capabilities for specific applications such as Exchange and Outlook. ISA Server 1.0 shipped with a filter for Outlook to talk with Exchange over the Internet but without a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Gutt said the goal is for "more and more" filters.

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