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Microsoft rejigs enterprise end point security management

Redmond retires Forefront Protection Manager

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Updated Microsoft has decided to drop a standalone anti-malware management product in order to concentrate on server-based security and management software and hosted services.

The management component of Stirling, the already delayed next generation of the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite for end points (business PC anti-virus), has been dropped. The Forefront team explained that Redmond had made the decision in order to align "security management with systems and application management".

As part of this strategy, Forefront Protection Manager (FPM) will not be released to market. Instead, multi-server management for Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server (FPE) and Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint (FPSP) will be delivered through a streamlined solution for messaging and collaboration workloads, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Redmond promised to offer extra management functionality to customers of these enterprise server security products at no extra charge during the second half of this year. This was presumably to build loyalty in the user base before sales people at the likes of CA and Trend Micro attempt to encourage users to defect.

Instead of a stand-alone management product, Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 will be incorporated as a component of System Center Configuration Manager. "This will allow customers to configure, patch, and protect their desktops and laptops with the same infrastructure, delivering comprehensive security with greater efficiency," the Forefront blog post further explained.

Earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Microsoft was abandoning the enterprise desktop security market altogether. Not so, as a Microsoft spokesperson explained.

"We are not discontinuing Forefront Endpoint Protection," he told El Reg. "We communicated that we are not shipping Forefront Protection Manager - a planned product to manage Forefront secrity products.

"Instead, we will build on the current Forefront management product to manage Exchange and SharePoint security, and Forefront Endpoint Protection will be built on and managed by System Center Configuration Manager. This approach is better aligned with how customers approach and want security management, per workload." ®

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