As you may or may not know, Microsoft made significant changes to its security suite of products this past year. I receive numerous inquiries around Forefront specifically, the options available for SPLA customers, and what ultimately this means for you as you move forward.
To recap, Microsoft discontinued the following SKUs from the price list:
• Forefront Protection 2010 for SharePoint – (supported thru December 31st, 2015)
• Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server –(supported thru December 31st, 2015)
• Forefront Security for Office Communications Server – (supported thru December 31st, 2015)
• Forefront Protection Server Management Console – (supported thru December 31st, 2015)
• Forefront Threat Management Web Protection Services – (supported thru December 31st, 2015)
• Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010 – supported thru April 14, 2015 (extended support April 14 2020)
Microsoft will continue to support the products, (highlighted above) but as a service provider you will only have access up until your agreement expires. Sign a new SPLA, you can no longer offer the above SKUs as part of your offering. In my opinion, Microsoft is not getting away from the security business, but making some of the Forefront features to be included with the new releases of the server software. (You can check out the latest updates at http://www.microsoft.com/security). For example, Exchange 2013, has basic antivirus protection built-in, thus encouraging customers to upgrade to the latest version. As a side note, FOPE (Forefront Online Protection for Exchange) is renamed Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and only available through the new Office 365 release.
So what does all this mean to you? If you are hosting these products today, rest assured they will not be there when your agreement expires. You can become a partner of Microsoft to continue offering EOP, or consider third-party vendors such as Symantec, McAfee, or Trend Micro to name a few. Check out http://www.softwareone.com for a quote.
Thanks for reading!