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Managing Client Protection : Microsoft Forefront Client Security

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In beta at the time of this writing, Microsoft Forefront Client Security (FCS) is enterprise security software that provides protection from malware in addition to many other threats. While Windows Defender is designed for consumers and small businesses, FCS is designed to be deployed throughout large networks and managed efficiently. As shown in Figure 1, you can use FCS to centrally manage client security.
Figure 1. You can use FCS to centrally manage client security.

Microsoft Forefront products are designed to provide defense-in-depth by protecting desktops, laptops, and server operating systems. Forefront currently consists of the following products:

  • Microsoft Forefront Client Security

  • Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server (formerly called Microsoft Antigen for Exchange)

  • Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint (formerly called Antigen for SharePoint)

  • Microsoft Forefront Security for Office Communications Server (formerly called Antigen for Instant Messaging)

  • Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006

Of these products, only FCS would be deployed to Windows Vista or Windows XP client computers. The other products would typically be deployed on servers to protect applications, networks, and infrastructure.

Enterprise management of anti-malware software is useful for:

  • Centralized policy management.

  • Alerting and reporting on malware threats in your environment.

  • Comprehensive insight into the security state of your environment, including patch status and up-to-date signatures.

FCS provides a simple user interface for creating policies that you can automatically distribute to organizational units (OUs) and security groups by using Group Policy objects. Clients also centrally report their status so that administrators can view the overall status of client security in the enterprise, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. FCS provides centralized client security status.

With FCS, administrators can view statistics ranging from domain-wide to specific groups of computers or individual computers to understand the impact of specific threats. In other words, if malware does infect computers in your organization, you can easily discover the infection, isolate the affected computers, and then take steps to resolve the problems.

FCS also provides a client-side user interface. Similar to Windows Defender, FCS can warn users if an application attempts to make potentially malicious changes, or if it detects known malware attempting to run. The key differences between Defender and FCS are:

  • FCS is centrally managed FCS is designed for use in medium and large networks. Administrators can use the central management console to view a summary of current threats and vulnerabilities, computers that need to be updated, and computers that are currently having security problems. Windows Defender is designed for home computers and small offices only, and threats must be managed on local computers.

  • FCS is highly configurable You can configure automated responses to alerts, and, for example, prevent users from running known malware instead of giving them the opportunity to override a warning as they can do with Windows Defender.

  • FCS protects against all types of malware Windows Defender is designed to protect against spyware. Forefront protects against spyware, viruses, rootkits, worms, and Trojan horses. If you use Windows Defender, you need another application to protect against the additional threats.

  • FCS can protect a wider variety of Windows platforms FCS is designed to protect Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Vista computers. Windows Defender can only protect Windows XP and Windows Vista computers.

Like Windows Defender, FCS supports using WSUS to distribute updated signatures to client computers, but FCS also supports using third-party software distribution systems. For more information about FCS, visit http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/.

Note

Microsoft offers a third client security solution: Windows Live OneCare. Windows Live OneCare is designed to help protect home computers and small businesses with antivirus, antispyware, improved firewall software, performance monitoring, and backup and restore assistance. For more information, visit http://www.windowsonecare.com/.

Other -----------------
- Managing Client Protection : Using Windows Defender (part 2)
- Managing Client Protection : Using Windows Defender (part 1)
- Securing the Workstation : Beginning with Basic Security
- Managing Client Protection : User Account Control (part 4) - How to Configure User Account Control
- Managing Client Protection : User Account Control (part 3) - UAC Virtualization, UAC and Startup Programs, Compatibility Problems with UAC
- Managing Client Protection : User Account Control (part 2) - UAC User Interface, How Windows Vista Determines Whether an Application Needs Administrative Privileges
- Managing Client Protection : User Account Control (part 1) - UAC for Standard Users, UAC for Administrators
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Using Task Scheduler (part 5) - Scheduled Tasks Events, Troubleshooting Task Scheduler
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Using Task Scheduler (part 4) - Managing Tasks
- Maintaining Desktop Health : Using Task Scheduler (part 3) - Creating New Tasks
 
 
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