Recently, email hosting provider Microsoft (News - Alert) revealed that it will cease development of many of its Forefront security software products for its Exchange Server (FPE), SharePoint (FPSP), Office Communications Server (FSOCS), as well as its Threat Management Gateway (News - Alert) products (TMG / TMG WPS). This news is likely to shock several Microsoft customers.
It was the company’s decision to axe many of the Forefront enterprise-security products and the technology giant is claiming it has other products integrating some of the same functions in providing protection, products that have built-in security capabilities already.
It is important for customers to know that those Forefront products will not be available after December 1, 2012. However, not all of Microsoft’s Forefront products are being axed—Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) and Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) will not expire like the others.
Luckily though, the email hosting provider will offer support to those who have been using one or more of those Forefront products that will no longer be made available and end-users can expect the availability of service packs and other updates through the product’s lifecycle.
There is other Microsoft software that may be worth considering which can take the place of one or more of the discontinued Forefront products: For instance, instead of Microsoft Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server (FPE) a user can use Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE), which is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS (News - Alert)) version of FPE, in order to provide server security. Otherwise, users have the option of leveraging Microsoft System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection, a unified platform that is ideal for client management and protection.
Other than the discontinued Forefront products, the business will also be renaming FOPE, which is included as part of Office 365 and Exchange Online, to "Exchange Online Protection." It is just a name change, less the Forefront part of it. The newly named product still offers cloud-based e-mail and access to Office 365. As before, it delivers enterprise-grade security, a highly secure e-mail infrastructure; email hosting capabilities on a PC, smartphone and Web browser; and provides protection, integration with Exchange Server 2010 and any Office 365 supported application.
Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection offers users access to the Office 365 productivity suite, which includes Microsoft Office apps, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online, a cloud-based e-mail service and protection for inbound and outbound e-mails.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein