The Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) server marks Microsoft's first significant push into the information technology security area and is the security piece of the software giant's .Net Enterprise Server product line, the company said in a statement.
The ISA server provides firewall protection of networks from unauthorized access, defense from external hacking attacks, the ability to peruse incoming and outgoing communications traffic, as well as a means to notify network administrators of any suspicious activity.
Recent virus attacks have raised the profile of security software which can filter suspicious code before it can cause damage. Earlier this week, computer administrators struggled to protect systems from an e-mail virus, known as the Anna Kournikova virus because the infected file poses an attachment which purports to be a photo of the Russian tennis star. The virus infects Microsoft Windows-equipped PCs and uses Outlook address books to spread. It is the latest in a series of similar viruses to attack computer systems via e-mail attachments.
In addition to its security software and tools, the ISA server also includes a Web-caching technology, which is designed to help boost the server's performance.
Available in two versions, ISA server has a standard edition priced at $1,499 per CPU (central processing unit) and an enterprise edition at $5,999 per CPU.