My name is Danny Popper, and I’m a Program Manager for Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server. On Wednesday, Brett (our Product Unit Manager) blogged about our brand new beta release of two Forefront Server Security products – Forefront Security for Exchange Server (FSE) and Forefront Security for SharePoint (FSSP). Brett talked about our direction both from the broader Forefront division of security products as well as from the perspective of our two products. I want to build on what Brett said, and I hope that I can fill in some of the details about how we’re going to achieve the visions he outlined.
This past week, we gave you your first peek at the next generation of FSE, and it’s super-exciting on a bunch of levels. First, on a personal level, I’m one of the newer members of the team, having just graduated from school this past year. Which means that this is the first software release since I’ve joined the team, and it’s amazingly gratifying to see months of work (well, more like a year for other team membersJ) actually go out to the public. Second, this release of FSE is our first step in adding a whole bunch of features that you’ve been asking us for – in this beta1 release we’ve focused on making FSE incredibly easy to deploy and manage for IT administrators. Third and most importantly, this beta release marks our first release with “Stirling,” Microsoft’s new suite for enterprise security and management.
While FSE is a mature product in its own right (I can’t believe that we’re on v11 already!), we’re now integrated with a host of other security and management products from Microsoft in order to make it even easier to deploy, configure, and monitor your enterprise’s complete security and management solution. But you know all this already, so let me get to some specifics!
Our main focus in this beta preview is to greatly enhance the management experience. Towards that end, the next generation FSE/FSSP gives you:
· A complete Powershell interface to simplify your scripting experience. We’ve built the next generation of FSE/FSSP with Powershell in mind, so that all settings and data are now accessible programmatically.
· An updated administration GUI, aligning with the Forefront Suite (see below!). Our GUI is not just updated, but rebuilt completely, in order to better expose all our functionality in a clear manner.
· MSI deployment, supporting both attended and unattended installations
· Enhancements to the mail-scanning pipeline
· Support for Exchange 2007 SP1 and for Windows Server 2008
· All the existing FSE/FSSP features that you expect from us – multiple leading antivirus engines for security in depth, true file type filtering, keyword filtering for specific words and phrases, a MOM pack to expose system health
But the most important part of this release is really our integration with Microsoft Forefront codename “Stirling”. For a high level look at “Stirling”, make sure you don’t miss Brett’s post (and also check out the “Stirling” team’s blog). But how does “Stirling” integrate with FSE and FSSP?
· “Stirling” actually incorporates more than just FSE and FSSP; it also includes new versions of Microsoft Forefront Client Security (and don’t forget their blog) and Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA, and their blog).
· Both FSE and FSSP have their brand new GUI designed in the “Stirling” model, so that the transition between the individual products and the full suite is completely smooth.
· In this beta for FSE, and the next beta for FSSP, you will be able to control all configurations for all FSE/FSSP nodes in your organization through a single “Stirling” console. You can define policies for deployment, and maintain separate settings for different parts of your network topology, but still control this from a single central location.
· In this beta for FSE, and the next beta for FSSP, you can view data and reports from across all FSE/FSSP nodes, both singly and aggregated over your network.
· Finally, by integrating all these layers of network security, we can also provide what we call “Dynamic Response” – a system that analyzes and correlate information for all layers of your network in order to detect and respond to threats.
· This is really only the tip of the iceberg for “Stirling”, so be sure to check up on all of its cool features as well.
As always, Forefront makes it easier!
This is only a first beta.
We’d love for all of you to try it out, to get a feel for how we’ve improved management, and to see how we’ve integrated management and reports for multiple nodes and across protection technologies. (And, of course, send us feedback on it, too!). And before you know it, we’ll be back with another beta chock full of new features.
Remember, our goal is to make your life simpler. It’s rare that a software team wants you to spend less time with its newer version than the previous one, but we really do want you to leave the worrying to us.
Between our new administrative interfaces, installers, and exciting new integration with the multi-workload “Stirling” project, we really hope that you can spend less time actively working with our software, and more time enjoying the peace of mind that your organization is being secured at every level.
Danny PopperProgram Manager
Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server