Microsoft Backpedals on Exchange Security Roadmap

 
 
By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-12-22
 
 
 
Microsoft Corp. Wednesday disclosed that it will not ship—as a separate product—its Exchange Edge Services, a set of e-mail security and anti-spam enhancements for Exchange Server.

In May, Microsoft said it would roll out Exchange Edge Services in 2005. The package was expected to provide support for identification standards, such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), as well as other tools and techniques designed to stop spam, including IP Safelist, or presolved puzzle validity—a technology that requires e-mail servers to solve complex computational puzzles for each message they send out.

Instead, Microsoft plans to wrap some Exchange Edge Services features into Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) that the company plans to release in the second half of 2005.

Microsoft quietly disclosed the change in plans Wednesday in an message dispatched by its public relations counsel.

However, word about the fate of Edge Services was largely eclipsed by the news Wednesday that a European Court judge had ruled that Microsoft had to comply with the antitrust penalties imposed last March by the European Commission.

Microsoft announced Exchange Edge Services in the spring as a new product aimed at giving customers more protection against spam and "phishing" scams that can dupe users into disclosing bank account and credit card numbers, IDs and passwords.

"Since that time, Microsoft received extensive input from customers requesting that Edge Services be broader than its initial scope to include messaging policy capabilities that organizations need to help meet regulatory compliance requirements," the e-mail message said.

As a result, Microsoft decided it needed additional time to add these news features, which would push the delivery date of Edge Services close to the release date for the next version of Exchange Server.

The company decided to "ship most Edge Services components, including the new messaging policy functionality" with the version of Exchange Server. A Microsoft spokesperson declined so say Wednesday when the company would be ready to ship the next version of exchange server.

Click here to read about Microsofts decision to only provide custom paid support for NT Server 4.0 and Exchange Server 5.5.

Microsoft will provide more details on the next version of Exchange Server "in the new year," the spokesperson said.

Edge Services technologies now slated for Exchange Server 2003 SP2 will be Sender ID e-mail authentication technology that is designed to counteract e-mail address spoofing and phishing by attempting to verify the domain name that messages come from, according to the spokesperson said.

Read more here about industry concern and Microsofts adoption of the Sender ID specification.

"Basically all the anti-spam functionally originally planned for Edge Services will be delivered in Exchange Server 2003 SP2, including updates to the Intelligent Message Filter (IMF) and anti-phishing technology," the spokesperson said.

The change in plans isnt expected to have a significant impact on customers, the spokesperson said, because most customer are still in the process of migrating to Exchange Server 2003.

In addition, customers already have access to IMF spam-blocking technology and other alternatives are available from third party software providers in the Microsoft Exchange partners program, the spokesperson noted.

Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.

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