If you haven't heard of Microsoft Forefront, it's a comprehensive set of security technologies, that can help to protect your infrastructure, whether it be with Forefront Client Security for unified malware protection on PC desktops and notebooks, Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Forefront Security for SharePoint for protecting key information worker server products and don't forget the Forefront Server Security Management Console for tying it all together. Whilst these products are comprehensive, what they don't really offer is deep integration. That's about to change, with Stirling.
"Forefront codename “Stirling” is an integrated security system that delivers comprehensive, coordinated protection across endpoints, messaging, and collaboration applications, and the network edge that is easier to manage and control"
"Dynamic response, an innovative feature of the Stirling integrated security system, saves IT staff considerable time by automatically responding to incoming threats.
By sharing and using security information across the IT environment, “Stirling” and dynamic response help to save time while proactively securing the environment"
To put more of a real life scenario around the technology, I've found a useful example on the Stirling website:
In this scenario, a Trojan lodges itself on an employee’s PC, creating hundreds of open connections to the Internet. The network administrator notices the Trojan after receiving an alert or looking at logs on the firewall. At that point, he calls the desktop administrator or Help Desk, which in turn looks for the infected computer and resolves the issue by disconnecting the computer from the network. More often than not, this search-and-fix process takes several hours and exposes the organization to unnecessary risk.
In the same scenario with "Stirling" deployed, Forefront Threat Management Gateway detects the open connections to the Internet and relays that information to the other Forefront security products. The information automatically triggers a response by Forefront Client Security to start a thorough malware scan on the infected computer. Depending on the results, a subsequent response is triggered by the Network Access Protection technology to quarantine the machine and block e-mail exchanges. The entire process takes a few minutes and requires no manual intervention.
There's loads of information on Stirling here: http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/stirling/en/us/default.aspx and you can also pull down the beta of the software, and you can also read a great review of the technologies here: http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/98813/microsofts-next-security-suite-nothing-short-of-stirling.html
Final piece of info - check out the online flash demo: Microsoft Forefront Codename Stirling Demo
If you do, you should definitely email the guys who are looking after the betas'.
If you are interested, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the name of the beta you want to go onto in the subject line:
And simply ask for the information, and they'll send it to you as soon as its available!
In the mean time, you can read all about Small Business Server 2008 and Essentials Business Server 2008!
Andreas, one of the Solution Architect's at IBM, has developed a couple of videos talking about Hyper-V, both from an architectural and business perspective, along with how IBM hardware is well placed to provide a platform for Hyper-V. The 2nd video also goes on to discuss other aspects of virtualisation, such as Desktop Virtualisation. This a great example of one of our Partners seeing an opportunity, both around the software, and the hardware, and utilising the web as a way to showcase their work. Nice work guys!
Andreas and I will be undertaking in a small roadshow in the near future, to showcase some of these technologies in more detail, so watch this space!
I blogged about the Hyper-V training a while back, and it went like hot cakes! The Partner team are therefore pleased to announce the availability of a new date:
This course will cover opportunities surrounding Hyper-V as well as Installing and Deploying Hyper-v, High Availability, Clustering, Scripts, Migrating.
Should have a knowledge of Windows Server 2003 and some experience of Virtualisation technologies.
To have a better understanding about Microsoft Virtualisation technology
Agenda: Day 1
You can register for the training here: https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=246572
If you have a Microsoft licensing agreement* there are resources you already have to help explain why and how you can effectively deploy Windows Vista and Office 2007 in your organisation. Following on from a successful event last year on this topic and as a result of further requests for the need to explain the real business and technical benefits of deployment, this event session will look at the ROI, immediate and long term benefits of deploying Windows Vista and Office 2007 within your organisation. The content will include an in depth explanation of the deployment tools and support and how to maximise the value of these tools to deploy Windows Vista and Office 2007 effectively.
09.15 - Why deploy now?
This session will include a higher level look into Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office system now that they have been available for over a year, as well as highlighting the key features including improving productivity
9:45 - How to realise the value of your Microsoft investment
This session will delve into the detail of the vision from the first session. We will showcase best practices, benefits and ROI that customers have experienced
10.30 - Coffee
10.45 - Entitlement and how to activate tools and services
An overview of what is available to help you
11.15 - Tools, best practice and methodologies to assist in planning and deploying
Finally a deeper look into some of the techniques you can use to deploy these technologies in your organisation
11:45 - Q&A
12.00 - Close
-> Register Now to attend on 6 May 2008 in Reading
-> Register Now to attend on 3 June 2008 in Manchester (registration opening soon)
*The number of days of deployment planning services you are eligible for is based on spend on Software Assurance for Microsoft Office programs. Software Assurance spending is calculated at the initial sale; as you purchase additional Software Assurance coverage, it is added to your total until the benefit is activated.
(Note Amounts vary depending on currency.)
The following Volume Licensing programs are eligible for this benefit:
If you're interested in learning more about the Microsoft Partner Programme, and all the benefits it brings, this is for you! The KickStart courses have been so popular with partners, we’ve scheduled even more dates to meet the demand. Feedback from previous courses showed 100% of the attendees were satisfied:
“I could have done with this course 12-18 months ago when we first became a gold partner!” Alliance Systems, MBS Gold Partner.
“A very informative and worthwhile training event...I found it extremely useful, making over 5 pages of notes” MidlandHR, Certified Partner
The course covers the following:
To register, visit www.microsoft.com/uk/partner/plc and do a search for 44WK018 which is the course code. You should find all the different times and venues listed in the results.
Key partner dedicated administrators within the business. Any other personnel who would like to be trained up on the tools and resources we offer on our partner portal. Open to all partners, but some sections will be specific to Certified and Gold partner tasks.
Training Dates for 2008:
Now this isn't my request for more friends! If you're a Microsoft Partner, and you're used to using the Ask Partner phone line to ask certain questions, you'll know that sometimes it can be a little time consuming if you only have a few quick questions. The PartnerBot can really help overcome that issue.
What is the PartnerBot?
"Partner Bot is an Instant Messenger 'data digger', which quickly retrieves partner-related information and shows you where you can find the answers you need. Add Partner Bot as a buddy in your Windows Live Messenger contacts and it will always be available whenever you're logged in. Simply type in your question and Partner Bot will bring back an instant response. Whether you're looking for support options, searching for competitive information or want to learn more about competencies, ask Partner Bot and it will point you in the right direction."
Currently, if you add Partner Bot to your contacts and then type this question in the conversation window: 'I want to ask Partner Bot the £1,000 question', you could be in with a chance to win £1,000 in Capital Bonds vouchers.
How Do I Add Partner Bot to My Contacts?
Log-in to Windows Live Messenger
Click on 'Add a Contact' icon
Add 'email@example.com' into Instant Messaging Address
You can read all about the PartnerBot, and the promotion here: https://partner.microsoft.com/UK/40043201
The closing date of this promotion is April 28 2008.
The Partner Readiness team is pleased to announce the release of SharePoint for Developers training. We also have some seats available on our Groove technical training delivery next week.
1. Developing with SharePoint Server 2007
This course explores the development opportunities with Microsoft’s most recent release of SharePoint Products and Technologies. The first half of the course focuses on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) where you will learn how develop fundamental WSS building blocks such as features, application pages, site pages, Web Parts, custom list types, site columns, content types and custom workflow programs. The second half of the course focuses on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS). You will learn how to assemble and configure business solutions by using and extending the portal and web content management features of MOSS as well as other server-side services such as the Business Data Catalog, Forms Services, Excel Services and Report Center.
Partners are offered subsidised seats on Xpertise’s public schedule of this course. If demand is high, we will run dedicated partner deliveries.
The link to enrol is here: Partner Learning Centre. The cost is £640 per seat for Gold and Cert, and £800 per seat for Registered partners.
2. Microsoft Office Groove 2007 Fundamentals & Technical Training for Partners and IT Professionals
Microsoft Partners are invited to attend Groove Fundamentals & Technical Training. Participating in this training will help prepare you for taking and passing the Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist Exam 70-555: Configuring Microsoft Office Groove 2007, part of the Portals & Collaboration Certification. All partners attending this class will receive the eLearning module and exam voucher, enabling you to become certified easily! This one-day course will outline Groove solutions in market, how SharePoint & Groove work together, and how to deploy and support Groove. The training includes presentations, labs, and Q&A discussions. The Hands on Labs will focus on the Groove client as well as installing and configuring the Groove Servers. You will leave the class with a solid understanding of the Groove platform and its underlying services, including the unique aspects of a decentralized architecture, communications, security, data bridge, relay and management services.
For more information or to enrol, click here. The cost is £100 for Gold and Cert partners, and £150 for Registered.
I showed a video of Forefront and NAP integration a few weeks back, which is a good example of related technologies integrating nicely, but you'd at least hope that Microsoft technologies would integrate pretty well... (insert Can of Worms here) :-)
Anyway, ProCurve, by HP, has paired up with Microsoft to enable its Identity Driven Manager (IDM) tool to integrate with Microsoft's Network Access Protection (NAP). Now, I'm not up on the features that ProCurve offers, but for me, it's a great example of Partners understanding a building integration with NAP, as for me, it's one of the top features of Windows Server 2008. If you're not up on NAP, you can read a bit about it here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/security-policy.aspx.
"According to ProCurve chief security architect Mauricio Sanchez, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor will complement NAP and add a layer of security policy enforcement at the edge. ProCurve's integration with Microsoft, Sanchez said, is a move to get in front of the ever-growing base of users that have or will soon deploy Server 2008, which comes with NAP functionality embedded.
Sanchez said ProCurve's IDM, a policy management solution, switches and wireless access points are now compatible with NAP, opening the door for customized network access policies for admission of users and clients in both wired and wireless environments.
"It's extending Microsoft NAP with stronger identity management capabilities," he said. "The NAC market emerged from the device health mantra but one of the missing pieces that customers are starting to question and ask for is the identity piece."
Read the full article here: http://www.crn.com/networking/207400662
If you've never watched 'Who's Line is it Anyway?', you're missing out...
This is a classic :-)
Enjoy the weekend :-)