Microsoft’s new business security product, Forefront, isn't up to the job, according to Microsoft rivals Symantec and Sophos.

Microsoft launched Forefront Client Security and System Center Essentials 2007 last week, trailing it as a way for businesses to manage laptop and PC security through one interface.

Unfortunately for Microsoft the core security technology in Forefront is believed to be the same as that in the company’s much-criticised consumer antimalware Windows Live OneCare service. As with Windows Live OneCare, Forefront comprises an antimalware client tied to a central server capable of real-time updates.

Now Symantec and Sophos have waded in with a series of criticisms of its design, casting doubt that the core technology can do a good enough job for business administrators.

“OneCare has failed multiple third-party antivirus tests, including the latest Virus Bulletin, which is widely considered the benchmark test for AV engines,” said Symantec in its public pronouncement on Forefront’s core architecture.

Meanwhile, Graham Cluley of Sophos doubted that Microsoft had the right service ethos to provide security to its business customers.

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