Microsoft releases Antigen e-mail security

Update to Sybari wares adds MS antivirus engine, cluster support

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the first release of the Antigen enterprise antivirus and antispam software since it purchased the technology with Sybari Software in 2005.

The company released new versions of Antigen for Exchange, Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Antigen Spam Manager, and Antigen Enterprise Manager. The updates add Microsoft's antivirus engine to the default third-party scanning engines used by the product. The products also add support for clustered Exchange deployments and improved management features for handling quarantined messages and log files, Microsoft said.

Microsoft completed its acquisition of Sybari in June, 2005 and has spent the last year certifying the company's antivirus and antispam products with its Security Development Lifecycle process, said Steve Brown, director of product management, security and access management at Microsoft.

Microsoft's antivirus engine will work alongside engines by Computer Associates, Norman Data Defense, Sophos, MailFilters, VirusBuster, AhnLab, Authentium, and Kaspersky Labs, the company said in a statement. Microsoft also added a digital signing feature for antivirus engine updates which makes those updates more secure, Brown said.

Antigen uses five scan engines by default. However, customers can increase that number to nine by purchasing the Antigen Messaging Security Suite, which combines Antigen Exchange, Gateway, and Spam Manager, and allows customers to increase the number of engines that can be used, said Joe Licari, director of product management for Antigen at Microsoft.

A new version of Antigen Enterprise Manager, a management tool for Antigen-protected servers, allows administrators to pull quarantine information from distributed Antigen installations and manage those centrally.

The Antigen Cluster Awareness feature allows Antigen to fail over in clustered Exchange deployments without having to update signature files and other configuration settings that could cause downtime, Licari said.

Perot Systems was a longtime Sybari customer and plans to upgrade to the new release of Antigen Exchange, though the company did not evaluate the other Antigen updates, said Don Westurn, a senior Exchange engineer, at Perot.

Westurn said he liked the integrated SpamCure antispam feature in the new Antigen release. That technology was previously an add-on for Antigen, but is now part of the standard product, and replaces stripped down antispam features like basic subject line filtering.

Antigen was tightly integrated with Exchange before Microsoft bought the company, and is even more so now, said Ajlan Karaoglu of Perot.

The new Antigen products will be available July 1 and will start at $10.50 per user for an annual subscription, with volume discounts. A three-month free trial download of the products will be available starting Tuesday.

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