Microsoft has released a public beta of its latest enterprise security product.
Forefront Client Security protects company computers and server operating systems against malicious software threats such as spyware, viruses and rootkits and is specifically aimed at corporate customers that need a management server alongside client protection.
Microsoft will offer the product under a subscription plan, but has yet to announce a price. Forefront is set for full release in June of next year rather than the January, as some experts had predicted.
The software giant also announced two new versions of its server security solutions - Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Forefront Security for SharePoint - which are already in public beta, and scheduled for volume license release in December.
Microsoft will pitch the solution directly against products from vendors including McAfee, Symantec and Sophos.
Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Security, Access and Solutions Division, said: "This product was developed in response to customer feedback on two trends in IT security: the growing diversity and sophistication of threats and the increasingly complex task of deploying and managing security across their IT environments."
According to Kummert, Microsoft's entry into the security solutions market is part of a wider commitment to their customers. "One company cannot do it alone, our security partners play a major role, and we are committed to working with them to help protect customers and foster healthy competition," he said. "By offering our own set of security products, we are providing our customers with greater choice as to how they secure their deployed infrastructure."
To test the new product organizations need to set up Windows Live ID to access the installation file. They then need to install a SQL Server if they plan to use the server functions.