Microsoft has released Internet Security And Acceleration Server 2004 (ISA 2004) into open beta testing. The new version has many changes that users might find useful in their environments.

Changes include a newly designed management console interface, which can be view at the ISA 2004 beta Web site. ISA 2004 protects unlimited networks, where ISA 2000 could only protect a single internal, external, and DMZ network. Security policies can now be assigned on a per-network basis. The beta also supports stateful inspection on all network traffic including content, NAT or routed traffic, stateful inspection on VPN traffic, and IPSec support for VPN tunnels.

ISA 2004 requires that users have Windows 2000 Server (any version) with service pack 4 or higher installed, or Windows Server 2003, standard or enterprise editions, and Internet Explorer 6.0.

Those who wish to test the beta can register and download a copy (43MB) from Microsoft's ISA 2004 beta Web site. The beta version will operate for 120 days. Installation and operational guides are also available on Microsoft's ISA 2004 beta Web site.