The upside and downside flowing from Microsoft’s growing investment in cloud-based services was illustrated by two recent blog posts. On the downside, Microsoft announced that they were cancelling a range of on-premises security products including Threat Management Gateway (TMG) and Forefront Protection for Exchange (FPE). Microsoft’s new focus is on cloud-based security, a move that makes absolute business sense for Microsoft as it allows them to move out of what has become an area of low profitability when measured against engineering investment. In addition, Microsoft already has to provide anti-virus and anti-spam protection for Office 365 and can offset their costs against the monthly subscriptions that are now flooding into “the service”. All in all, it’s a good deal for Microsoft that will cause some pain for customers who need to get their heads around the new situation.
I don’t treat the situation as a problem because I think it opens up a space where Microsoft previously took a lot of the available oxygen to innovation that will hopefully flow from other companies. Although the traditional on-premises anti-malware products will continue to handle situations such as regular scans of mailbox databases, I think that hardware-based appliances (perhaps virtualized) might be the right way to process the ever-increasing volume of inbound email. Time and investment will tell here.
The upside of Microsoft’s focus on the cloud platform can be seen in the new monitoring...More