With its first generation of enterprise-oriented Forefront security products barely out the door, Microsoft used the Tech Ed 2007 trade show this week to promote an upcoming generation of more integrated Forefront tools. At the heart of this lineup is the new centralized security product codenamed Stirling that will unify security management across an organization.

"We entered \[the enterprise security\] market because customers were asking us to make security easier - easier to manage, easier to integrate, and easier to buy," says Margaret Arakawa, senior director of Security Product Marketing at Microsoft. "Forefront 'Stirling' is a unified product that will provide comprehensive protection across client, server applications and network edge from a single management console. Stirling will be the first in the market to integrate full-featured security and access technologies in a single product, with one management console."

More specifically, Stirling will enable IT administrators to set security policies, and configure, deploy, and manage security from a central location. It will combine previously separate products, such as the first generation versions of Forefront Client Security, Server Security and Edge Security and Access, with a new unified console. Microsoft expects to ship a beta version of Stirling by the end of 2007 and the final version sometime in 2008.