Microsoft has announced the beta release of "Forefront Security for SharePoint" a revision of the MS-acquired Sybari "Antigen for SharePoint Server" product, that brings needed security to SharePoint (MOSS 2007) and Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0. Forefont, a package of security add-ons, will be implemented to protect SharePoint/MOSS from viruses and other malicious software. "As business customers use collaboration software to connect internal users, customers and partners in an increasing variety of ways, they want to maintain the highest level of protection for critical business information," said Margaret Arakawa, senior director of Security and Access Product Marketing at Microsoft. Not do be outdone, increasingly grumpy security rival, Symantec, also offers a security and antivirus solution for SharePoint. And they have recently announced a host of new enterprise security solutions as an alternative to the Redmond offerings. Symantec also moved this week to team with Verisign and Accenture at part of its "Security 2.0" initiative, to protect consumers and enterprise users from the latest security threats. Symantec versus Microsoft -- this competition has to be good for enterprise security concerns. When it becomes available, Forefront Security for SharePoint will be optimized to provide advanced protection for both Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 -- the free foundation layer of MOSS. According to Microsoft, Forefont will provide: * Protection against the latest virus threats * Integration to help optimize server performance * Simplified management control For enterprises, Symantec on Tuesday unveiled Symantec Database Security and Symantec Mail Security 8300 Series. The Database Security programs will protect relational databases from access by those who should not have access and also will stop people who do have legitimate access to a relational database from taking confidential information out of the database. Symantec Mail Security is an e-mail protection appliance that does outbound filtering of e-mail to protect organizations from spam and phishing attacks, and can also help prevent confidential information from leaving an organization. For existing SharePoint Portal Server 2003 clients, Symantec offers the Symantec AntiVirus for Microsoft SharePoint product, which brings detection and removal of security threats to the portal environment. AntiVirus for SharePoint employs Symantec's antivirus technologies for discovery and repair of viruses, worms, and Trojan horses in all major file types, including mobile code and compressed file formats. While some might fear that "Microsoft" and "security" are mutually exclusive, Forefont looks to be shaping up as a comprehensive solution, worth the regard of Microsoft-centric corporate IT. Of course, a "wait and see" stance is prudent at this point. But if the time for your testing is now, the Symantec security offerings might have to be your first port of call. Forefront for SharePoint is targeted for availability alongside the release of MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0. The general guidance there has and continues to be "around end of year 2006".