In Forefront, we meet customers and learn their businesses.  We learn how they work and we understand their “pain points” to solve not just technology problems, but business problems.  Sometimes, it is not just about ensuring security, it is about understanding the underlying needs and challenges of connectivity.  In some environments, ISP reliability and quality is far from a given standard that many other places in the world take for granted.  This entry is one example where we spent time to really understand our customer’s business and how we took that as our challenge to solve for them.

For example, more and more businesses today rely on their Internet Service Providers link (or ISP) to handle their outside Internet world communications. Sending emails, browsing the web and any other web related actions are essential business infrastructure services that are only available as long the ISP line is up and running.  Accordingly, keeping a stable, available and reliable outside Internet connection is one of the critical tasks on every administrator’s check list.

Forefront TMG provides a new capability called ISP redundancy which basically, enables utilizing not one, but two ISP links for external connectivity, either for traffic load balancing or as a failover backup.  Until today, this can either be a time consuming task or an expensive task for most businesses.  Monitoring the state of an ISP or all services can be a non-trivial labor intensive or sometimes even impossible activity, especially for smaller businesses.  An available solution can certainly be an expensive dedicated hardware device to perform this activity for the administrator.  In some cases, the cost of these devices can exceed the entire costs of all other software and hardware infrastructure in a business.

We saw this as an opportunity to save money, time and provide a real solution to customers that either had no alternative or could not afford a solution.  This is what we like to do:  focus on how to make your business work more effectively or efficiently without having to make compromises.  I hope to share more of these examples in the coming months.  This one has already become a favorite in the very active ISA Server community.

David B. Cross

Product Unit Manager