Microsoft will ship its long-awaited Forefront Client Security product--a managed security solution for enterprises--in "the next month or so," according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Forefront has been in development for four years and in active beta testing for the past year.

"We do live in a world in which the bad guys, so to speak, are also getting smarter all the time, and it is important to be able to lock the core infrastructure, and then protect around it in a way that is a bit more dynamic," Ballmer said during a keynote address at the Microsoft Security & Management Seminar in Amsterdam. "So we are, with our Forefront line of products, entering the security business."

Ballmer described Forefront as an all-in-one client security solution that provides PC "hygiene, security, and antivirus" functionality. Forefront is designed for enterprises that need a centrally managed security solution.

Ballmer also talked up Microsoft System Center, an emerging line of management products targeted at enterprises and the midmarket. System Center includes the latest versions of Microsoft Operations Manager and Microsoft Systems Management Server, which have been rebranded under System Center. Various System Center products will ship through the end of 2007, Ballmer said.