Microsoft Rebrands FrontBridge in Hosted Services Push

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services will provide hosted services in four areas: filtering, archiving, continuity and encryption.

Microsoft has rebranded FrontBridge Technologies, as well as the secure messaging solutions it acquired along with the company last August.

The company will now be known as Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services, or EHS, and will provide hosted services in four distinct areas: filtering, archiving, continuity and encryption, Eron Kelly, director of Microsofts EHS, told eWEEK.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Microsofts acquisition of FrontBridge.

It is also the latest addition to the Exchange Server solution portfolio and a key offering in Microsofts software-as-a-service strategy, he said.

Microsoft on March 30 will announce the details of the new per-user licensing model for each of the services, which will be sold through partners and Microsofts own sales force, while pricing will be made available under Microsofts volume licensing plans.

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Filtering starts at $1.75 per user a month and will be made available with a free 30-day trial. It incorporates multiple filters to actively help protect a businesss inbound and outbound e-mail from spam, viruses, phishing scams and e-mail policy violations.

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Archive, which will cost $17.25 a user a month, is an advanced message archiving system for e-mail and instant messages that helps enterprises meet a variety of regulatory and legal demands placed on their electronic communication systems.

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Continuity, a security-enhanced Web interface that allows ongoing access to e-mail during and after unplanned outages of an on-premises e-mail environment, is priced at $2.50 a user per month.

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Encryption, at $1.90 a user a month, helps preserve e-mail confidentiality by allowing users to send and receive encrypted e-mail directly from their desktops.

The archive and continuity services work only with Exchange, while filtering and encryption services work with most messaging and e-mail systems, Kelly said.

Filo DSouza, group program manager for EHS, gave details of the upcoming road map for the product, including the Version 5.3 release, expected in mid-April, and the 6.x series of releases that will align with the availability of Exchange "12" late this year or in early 2007.

Earlier in March, Microsoft broadened the group of testers for the first beta of Exchange 12, releasing a community technology preview build to its 200,000 global TechNet and MSDN subscribers.

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about the Exchange 12 beta.

"New features in EHS 5.3 will include further optimization of filtering effectiveness, faster full-text archive indexing and added language support for Spam Quarantine for end users," he said.

Following that release, Microsoft will continue to provide updates every three or four months. The 6.x release series will bring support for calendar and contacts in the Hosted Continuity and Archive services, better directory integration, and broader support for languages in Spam Quarantine and the Admin Center, DSouza said.

Microsoft has seen a 25 percent growth in its customer base and 20 percent growth in the number of partner resellers since it acquired FrontBridge, with new customers including 3D International, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory, Georgia-Pacific, Los Angeles World Airports, McLarens Canada, Montgomery & Co., RSM EquiCo Capital Markets and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Kelly said.

"As a registered broker/dealer and a member of the National Association of Security Dealers Inc., we are required by law to be in compliance with its rules and regulations. The hosted archive and filtering services offer a simple and cost-effective solution that not only gives us peace of mind that we are remaining compliant, but has also greatly reduced the amount of time managing our messaging environment," said Sandra Grinker, vice president of administration at Montgomery & Co., an investment bank for emerging growth companies, in a statement.

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