Microsoft buys FutureSoft Web filtering software

Microsoft bought Web filtering software from FutureSoft and released a beta of ISA Server 2006 on Thursday.

Microsoft Thursday said it was buying Web filtering software called DynaComm i:filter from FutureSoft.

The company also released a generally available beta of the next version of its firewall and VPN (virtual private network) product, Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006, and launched limited customer beta programs for both its Microsoft Client Protection and Microsoft Antigen for Exchange, according to Ted Kummert, corporate vice president for the Security, Access and Solutions Division at Microsoft.

The beta for ISA Sever 2006 can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/isaserver/2006/beta.mspx.

Microsoft declined to disclose how many customers are taking part in the Client Protection and Antigen for Exchange betas.

In an interview on Microsoft's Web site about the purchase of DynaComm i:filter, Kummert said Microsoft is buying only the Web-filtering product from FutureSoft, while the Houston company, which is privately held, will remain independent.

DynaComm i:filter allows IT administrators to filter content coming through a company's network that has been deemed inappropriate or bandwidth-hogging. The software also protects users against spyware by blocking the download of executable files through Web browsers.

New features for Microsoft's ISA Server 2006 that users can preview in the beta include increased security for Web application servers through multi-factor authentication and integration with Microsoft's Active Directory. The update also features better management tools that simplify the process of deploying ISA Server 2006 in branch offices, as well as configuring Microsoft servers such as Exchange, Sharepoint and others for use with ISA Server. In addition, the beta improves Web-page load times and reduces costs for users in branch offices by compressing HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) traffic, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft's security announcements Thursday come slightly ahead of the security industry's annual RSA conference, which is scheduled for next week in San Jose, California. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates is slated to give a speech at the show on Tuesday.

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