REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft today unveiled its next-generation Forefront business-security product, making Microsoft the first security products vendor to deliver unified protection, policy control, and security management with a single console. The Forefront solution, codenamed Stirling, is a single product that delivers unified security management and reporting with comprehensive, coordinated protection across an organizations IT infrastructure.
Todays announcement builds on Microsofts commitment in the market to provide integrated and comprehensive security products that protect and enable access and that are easy to manage and use. PressPass spoke with Margaret Arakawa, senior director of Security Product Marketing at Microsoft, about this milestone and how it fits into Microsofts broader strategy and commitments to customers.
PressPass: What is being announced today?
Arakawa: A year ago, we launched the Forefront brand of security products for business. We entered this market because customers were asking us to make security easier - easier to manage, easier to integrate, and easier to buy. This is why we remain focused on providing products that simplify the security and access experience, while maintaining comprehensive protection and integrating seamlessly with an organizations IT infrastructure. During the year, we have delivered on our promise and by launching 10 new security and access products, which are now helping millions of users worldwide access the information they need, while protecting organizations from the latest threats.
Today, we are unveiling the next installment of our Forefront product roadmap, which takes our comprehensive, integrated and simplified approach to the next level. The key highlight of this roadmap is Forefront Stirling, a unified product that will provide comprehensive protection across client, server applications and network edge from a single management console. Stirling will be the first in the market to integrate full-featured security and access technologies in a single product. With one management console, Stirling enables IT managers to centrally set policy, configure, deploy and manage security within their IT environment. With Stirling, taking control of securing and managing an organizations IT infrastructure becomes easier and more cost-effective.
Stirling will include the next-generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access solutions, plus a unified management console. Customers can obtain current versions of any of our products today and be assured of an easy upgrade path to "Stirling" from current products and licenses. We are really excited to work with customers on this product, and weve scheduled a limited beta, starting later this year.
PressPass: What are the customer pain points that this solution is looking to address?
Arakawa: Customers experience multiple pain points in trying to provide a secure and well-managed IT infrastructure for their companies. The security threat landscape keeps changing, with more frequent, targeted, and financially-motivated attacks. To combat the threat, customers have deployed a slew of different point products to help ward off the attacks. As a result IT professionals spend a significant amount of time jumping between security consoles and trying to manage multiple and complex models for defining security policy and managing protection technologies.
A lack of integrated protection among these products is another challenge. Most security solutions are not integrated well with each other, or have a common management interface, so it is difficult to monitor and protect the organization from emerging threats. Finally, most of todays products dont enable the visibility needed to analyze and have a clear understanding of the security state of the organization.
To address these challenges, Stirling brings comprehensive and integrated protection, unified management and critical visibility in a single product. By equipping customers with a single solution to help secure their environment and provide secure access, Stirling will radically simplify the task of securing IT environments.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)