Microsoft puts its stamp on e-mail security

As part of a broader move into the security arena, Microsoft updates and rebrands Antigen e-mail security software.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
2 min read
Microsoft plans on Tuesday to launch updated and renamed Antigen e-mail security products, nearly a year after completing the takeover of their maker, Sybari.

Meant for use by organizations small and large, the Antigen products promise to cleanse e-mail of spam and viruses. They work with Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server software and are part of the company's strategy to become a player in the security software arena. Last week, Microsoft introduced Windows Live OneCare, a consumer security product.

"Microsoft is committed to providing a comprehensive and integrated set of products to enable a defense-in-depth strategy," said Steve Brown, director of product management in the security, access and solutions division at Microsoft. "Today's announcement is about us bringing those capabilities to the Exchange environment."

Microsoft has removed the Sybari label from the products. Starting July 1, Microsoft will sell four scanning titles: Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager and the Antigen Messaging Security Suite. Also available will be tools to manage those scanning programs: the Antigen Enterprise Manager and Antigen Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager.

The e-mail security software has been updated, representing a full-version upgrade, said Joe Licari, director of product management for Antigen at Microsoft. The previous release was version 8.0, a Sybari product. The new Microsoft-branded one is tagged version 9.0.

Key new features are signed antivirus updates, central management features, and improved support for e-mail systems that run on multiple servers in a cluster, Licari said. Also, Antigen now comes with Microsoft's antivirus-checking engine, in addition to several other scanning engines. The software uses multiple scan engines to comb through e-mail.

The updated Antigen products have been developed using Microsoft's Security Development Lifecycle process, which aims to vet code before products are pushed out. The SDL is designed to prevent security flaws in products.

Two former Sybari products will get the ax as a result of Microsoft's acquisition of the company. Sybari Antigen for Lotus Domino and Sybari Advanced Spam Defense will no longer be sold, Licari said. Current customers will be supported until the end of their contracts, he said.

Licensing for the Antigen products has not changed much, Brown said. They will be available on July 1 through Microsoft volume licensing and its channel partners. This includes Antigen for SharePoint and Antigen for Instant Messaging, which will remain Sybari-branded until the next versions are delivered in the first half of 2007, Microsoft said.

A free three-month trial will of the newly branded Antigen products be available for the Antigen e-mail security products.