What is Forefront: Microsoft Security Solutions

Posted: January 25, 2011 in Analysis
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Forefront is a family (suite) of products that are all focused on security.  Together they offer a very comprehensive security solution protecting applications, systems, networks and other assets.  Individually they all have there own function and there is some overlap between some of the products that make up the family.  Because of the overlap, understanding what you need to solve a particular business need is sometimes not clear.  Over the course of the year, I will do my best to help you understand the Microsoft security story and in particular what products you might need to solve business problems.  If you are interested in security in any way, you should at least understand that the Microsoft offering exists and what it can provide you.  In this post, I will give you a brief introduction to the products and in subsequent posts, I will drill down into the products to show you how to solve different security challenges.  These challenges include viruses, malware, remote connectivity, protecting against hackers and even protecting your network from your own users.

Forefront Endpoint Protection

Let’s start the conversation with Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 which is the NEXT desktop security solution from Microsoft.  It offers complete protection against viruses, trojans, and other types of malware. Instead of talking in terms of different types of malware (viruses, trojans, keyloggers, etc.) Microsoft refers to all of these as simply malware.  Malware is short for Malicious Software so all of these threats certainly qualify. The next release of Forefront Endpoint Protection {2010} is now in beta.  If you want to kick the tires, download Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 beta.  As is the case with other malware protection packages you have the capability to run or schedule scans, update definitions view quarantine, etc.  Updates are usually configured to be delivered automatically.

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There are many advantages to using Microsoft’s technology over other security clients.  Among them is the manageability of the product through group policy, the familiar management interface and integration with the System Center family of products.  What is likely even more interesting to many of my readers and subscribers is the cost.  Especially, for those that already have eCAL licenses deployed.  The Forefront Endpoint Protection client license is included with eCAL so the only cost (if you own eCAL) will be the time it take to implement the solution.  You might also want to investigate Intune as an online offering that includes endpoint protection.

System Requirements:

The server components of Forefront Endpoint Protection are installed on System Center Configuration Manager to leverage software distribution, management, etc.  You can install the server components on Windows Server 2003 SP2 or later.  The client will run on Windows XP SP3 or later (including Vista or Windows 7) or Windows Server 2003 SP2 and later (x64 and x86)

Learning more about The Forefront family of products

This would be a very, very long post if I supplied detail for all of the forefront applications.  Instead of doing that, I will give you a quick blurb on each of the products and provide links so you can get additional information. I hope to put video’s out for all or most of the Forefront family of products.  For now, you can get hands on labs, download the evals/beta’s or look on the product home page’s.

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