Microsoft Releases Endpoint Security Tool to Manufacturers

Microsoft has released Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) 2010 to manufacturers, with a general availability through their Volume Licensing Service Center of January 1, 2011. But that's less interesting than the fact than FES 2010 marks the start of Microsoft's play to integrate security and desktop management. Here's some perspective.

Users of Microsoft System Center Configuration Center 2007 can deploy and manage FEP 2010 to customer machines directly, according to the official blog entry, reducing costs and improving overall security by making sure each and every user has it, Microsoft claims. Forefront will even identify and replace existing anti-malware tools on the system, potentially saving some time and energy for a managed service provider.

The advantage to this approach, says Microsoft, is that the same infrastructure responsible for keeping client computers patched and otherwise up to date is the same that makes sure everyone has the most current virus definitions, too.

Other new features to FEP 2010, which is replacing Forefront Client Security, include Windows Firewall management and vulnerability shielding. At its core, FEP 2010 runs the same engine as the free-for-SMBs Microsoft Security Essentials. Most won't get their hands on FEP 2010 until the new year -- but there's an evaluation version available right now.

Meanwhile, most major security software companies have overhauled their licensing models to support MSPs. Generally speaking, we haven't heard from too many MSPs that leverage Microsoft's security wars for PC protection. But we'll be listening to learn if Microsoft Forefront gains any MSP traction in 2011.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.

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