Microsoft Debuts New Forefront Security Tools

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Microsoft quietly announced that it is shipping two new IT products aimed at keeping the enterprise safe while at the same time enabling secure collaboration among workers using its SharePoint tools.

The two Microsoft products—Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0—began shipping Wednesday, according to company officials.

Along with the new products, Microsoft is also talking up the security philosophy behind the products and how that fits with the company's overall vision of secure collaboration using Microsoft's SharePoint collaboration technology.

"The new Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0 (ADFS 2.0) provide essential building blocks for a secure collaboration solution," a Microsoft spokesperson said in a post on the Forefront Team Blog.

In the blog post, the spokesperson outlined "Five Steps to More Secure Collaboration" that spell out how the two products fit into the security vision.

These include building a "virtual team across security, content, identity and business managers," as well as embracing Microsoft's Forefront "defense in depth" strategy by applying "strong anti-malware on SharePoint, in addition to anti-malware on PCs and servers."

The third objective, the blog post said, is to "extend the power of identity," particularly through use of federation "across company boundaries and into the cloud (e.g., single sign-on)." Microsoft also advocates that IT administrators use rights management policies to protect customers' "information lifeblood."

Finally, the post said, the goal is to "be cloud ready," a step that includes evaluating cloud vendors' security.

Collaboration using SharePoint has become mission critical to Del Monte (NYSE: DLM), according to Jonathan Wynn, manager of advanced technology and collaborative services at the foods company.

"We've been using SharePoint for more than seven years," Wynn told InternetNews.com. "It's the lifeblood of our system."

"With Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint, I didn't have to worry who's providing the protection of assets," Wynn added.

Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint is designed to keep workers from uploading or downloading malware infected documents, as well as sensitive company information.

Microsoft introduced the Forefront brand in June 2006. Its in-depth defense capabilities are built on the use of multiple malware engines.

Evaluation copies of Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint are available for download.

Meanwhile, ADFS 2.0 is a free download for Windows Server that aims to enable customers to extend their "on-premises" identities to the cloud, among other capabilities, the blog post said.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.