Article

Microsoft Stirling security console delayed for more integration

Margie Semilof

It's a good thing Microsoft pushed out the release of its uber security console, Stirling, so it could integrate more third-party software.

Without such integration, the console would be of little use and would have little chance of unseating established enterprise security products in a tight economy, IT managers said.

More on Microsoft Forefront security management console
Microsoft Stirling announced at TechEd 2007

Better connections promised in next Forefront beta
Microsoft Stirling, the codename for the next wave of Forefront security products first announced at TechEd 2007, was originally due in the first half of 2009. Microsoft said last week that Forefront Server Security for Exchange and its Threat Management Gateway (the new name for ISA Server) are now due in late 2009. Forefront Client Security 2.0 and Forefront Security for SharePoint will come out in the first half of 2010.

Microsoft also said it would ship a second beta of Stirling soon and a release candidate later this year.

Part of the original plan was to offer some integration with products from Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc., mainly to serve as an all-in-one place to offer protection for Windows systems across the enterprise.

IT shops already have an array of security products, typically from more than one vendor. Usually each has to be managed separately. To that end, a unified console might be beneficial, said Ben Davis, a production systems engineer at Suburu of Indiana, a car manufacturing facility in Lafayette, Ind.

"Most consoles for individual products today are not that great, so I'd be curious to see it," Davis said. "But would you purchase it when you have other consoles? In today's economy it's a tougher sell."

Chris Mosby, a System Center Configuration Manager expert at a large, regional bank said he worried that Microsoft's entry into security management takes away from the company's focus on its core strengths, such as Windows management software.

"Microsoft has a habit of getting its fingers into everything," said Mosby, a Microsoft MVP.

"I wouldn't use Microsoft security just from having used its OneCare [antivirus utility]," he said. "It was so dumbed down."

Stirling would be useful if it supported third-party products, but using it for Microsoft-only software would be insufficient, he added.


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