Microsoft Announces New Corporate Antimalware Product

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Microsoft on Thursday unveiled its first antivirus, antispyware software designed for corporate networks, which will go into beta by year-end and will ship in 2006.

Currently called Microsoft Client Protection, the product was introduced by CEO Steve Ballmer during a presentation in Munich, Germany. It will protect desktops, laptops, and basic Windows file servers from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, or malware, competing directly with similar security tools from the likes of McAfee and Symantec.

"Over time, customers want fewer security products to manage, so we are taking this approach of unified protection, something we will build on over time," says Paul Bryan, director of product management in Microsoft's enterprise access and security products division.

Acquired Software

Client Protection, which will be renamed before release, is a combination of software Microsoft acquired from the purchase of antivirus vendor GeCAD in June 2003 and from the purchase in December 2004 of Giant Company Software, which develops antispyware programs.

Client Protection is made up of agents that run on each client and a centralized server management console. Microsoft has tied the software into Active Directory and its Group Policy technology for centralized management of desktop configuration, which will allow administrators to set per-user policies and configurations.

Bryan says that Microsoft may release Client Protection under its System Center brand name, which includes System Management Server (SMS) and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM). Client Protection includes reporting and alerting technology that is used in MOM and will integrate with SMS to distribute software. It will use the online service Microsoft Update to deliver virus signature files.

Client Protection supports Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 SP4. For servers it supports Windows 2003 SP1 and above, and Windows 2000 SP4. Pricing has not been announced.

This story, "Microsoft Announces New Corporate Antimalware Product" was originally published by Network World.

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