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Microsoft anti-malware suite ready to go

Two previous Microsoft acquisitions are finally bearing fruit. The company will release antispam and antivirus software under the Antigen brand on July 1.

IT managers who have Exchange, and only Exchange, might be well served to consider a suite of anti-malware software that will come from Microsoft early next month.

The company is releasing its Antigen brand of email security software, the core of which originated through two of the company's prior acquisitions: Sybari Software Inc., and GeCad Software. Customers can download a free, three-month trial immediately.

The Antigen suite of software contains four components, and each will be sold by subscription. They are Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, Antigen Enterprise Manager and the Messaging Security Suite. The company also released a management pack for Microsoft Operations Managers 2005.

Some prices include Antigen for Exchange for 250 users is $10.50 per seat per year. The security suite costs $14.50 per user per year, with up to nine antivirus scanning engines.

The Antigen products use multiple antivirus scanning engines, which is one of the products advantages, said Steve Brown, director of product management for Microsoft's Security Access and Solutions division. In addition to scanning engines made by other vendors, Microsoft uses the engine it acquired from GeCad in 2003.

One expert said it makes sense to consider a Microsoft product in a Microsoft-only environment. Dan Blum, an analyst with Burton Group, in Utah, said this is also the only real drawback to the software. Microsoft products cover Exchange servers but not software made by others, such as IBM Lotus.

In February, Microsoft released an early beta of Microsoft Antigen for Exchange antispam technology as well as a public beta of its Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2006.

One IT manager cited the different levels of protection as an advantage. "I can push out a change quickly, and the reporting feature lets me provide executive management with statistics with minimal effort," said Mark Longwell, who heads up IT systems at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

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