Microsoft Rolls Out New Forefront Betas

Microsoft is releasing new betas of Forefront enterprise security products, according to announcements issued this week.

The new Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) beta 3 and Forefront Online Security for Exchange (Release 9.1) provide key enhancements for Web security, according to Microsoft's team blogs.

"The TMG product is the next version of Microsoft's network-edge security product, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server," noted Don Retallack, security analyst at Directions on Microsoft, in an e-mail. "It will arrive in the second half of 2009 and integrate with the planned Stirling security system, to be released in 2010."

TMG beta 3 includes URL filtering capabilities using Microsoft Reputation Services, according to the Forefront team blog. The service aggregates URLs from multiple Microsoft-trusted sources, such as San Diego-based BrightCloud, iFilter and Marshall8e6. It's a way to avoid Web sites infected with downloadable malware, which is the most common means of distributing malicious software.

"TMG will include scanning for malware and inappropriate content, enabling them to be eliminated before they enter an organization's network," Retallack said. "It will also incorporate sophisticated URL filtering technology to help block access to inappropriate or dangerous Web sites.

Beta 2 of TMG was downloaded and tested by more than 11,000 users, according to Microsoft's team blog. Beta 3 is now "feature complete" and available for public download.

In a separate announcement, Microsoft rolled out the latest version of Forefront Online Security for Exchange (FOSE).

FOSE is a subscription service that provides an Internet front-end to an organization's internal e-mail system, according to Retallack.

"It protects businesses from spam, viruses and other and malware, phishing scams and company e-mail policy violations," he noted. "It is renamed from Exchange Hosted Services, which provided similar functions as well as archiving."

The latest version of FOSE contains enhancements to the directory synchronization tool, and improvements to the administration center and spam quarantine functionality.

Microsoft is also readying a public beta release of Forefront Unified Access Gateway, which is expected in "a couple of weeks," according to a Microsoft announcement. The Unified Access Gateway supports security for remote network access and was previously known as Microsoft's Intelligent Access Gateway product. It's now folded into the Forefront line and addresses "the same scenarios as IAG," according to Microsoft's FAQ.

About the Author

Herb Torrens is an award-winning freelance writer based in Southern California. He managed the MCSP program for a leading computer telephony integrator for more than five years and has worked with numerous solution providers including HP/Compaq, Nortel, and Microsoft in all forms of media.