Security Vendors Unleash New Solutions To Protect IM, E-Mail

Several vendors, including Trend Micro and Postini, announced solutions in recent weeks to combat an ever-widening messaging security crisis.

Luc Hatlestad, Contributor

May 23, 2006

3 Min Read

In many ways, the problems of messaging security keep getting worse. To wit: Instant messaging management vendor Postini announced that IM attacks had risen in April, while spam and virus volumes stayed steady. Of the more than 22 billion messages Postini processed that month, a whopping 18.5 billion of them were unwanted, and virus-carrying e-mails comprised about 3 percent of all e-mail.

Also, Panda Software announced that 70 percent of malware detected during the first quarter of 2006 was cybercrime-related. About 40 percent of it was spyware, about 17 percent were trojans, and 8 percent were dialers, or malicious code that dials up premium-rate numbers without users' knowledge. Panda reported that e-mail worms seem to be falling out of favor as cybercrime tools because they generate too much publicity and thus aren't very useful for profit-driven scams.

A number of security vendors are responding to demand for messaging security tools among SMBs. For example, Trend Micro this week announced Email Security Services, a hosted e-mail protection service that protects small companies' network and infrastructure by stopping threats before they reach the gateway.

The services feature a reseller-management console that enables VARs to manage customers' messaging environment. They can monitor service effectiveness, generate reports, and create and manage policies to implement group or user-specific rules or to meet corporate compliance requirements. This enables resellers to implement best practices and provide customer support.

"Producing the reports help VARs show customers an ongoing ROI and areas where they need to make improvements," says John Maddison, Trend Micro's senior business director for network security services. "One of the issues we have is that sometimes the services are too good in how they take care of themselves, so there are no touch points for resellers until its time for renewal. This provides an opportunity for them to add more services the customer needs."

The new services come in three flavors:

Anti-Spam (Service Level 1 costs $795 per year per 100 users), which eliminates spam based on IP reputation and provides reports and message tracking. Basic Email Security (Service Level 2 costs $1,596), which provides additional security against spam, viruses and malicious code. Extended Email Security (Service Level 3 costs $2,280), which combines Basic Service with content filtering and policy management for message compliance through a remote console. Trend Micro is far from the only vendor to have addressed the messaging security space in recent weeks. For its part, Postini recently released its Directory Sync capability and Single Sign-On (SSO) interface, two new administration solutions that more tightly integrate the Postini message management services platform with customers' existing IT systems. The new tools allow users, policies, authentication and authorizations to be defined at the customer premise and automatically synchronized with Postini's services infrastructure. GFI Software also announced MailSecurity 10, which has a new antivirus engine, GRISOFT AVG, that offers a higher detection rate and faster response to new viruses; and RSS quarantine feeds, which provide improved quarantine monitoring. The solution will ship late this quarter. Meanwhile, Canadian e-mail assurance vendor Vircom has upgraded its ModusMail and ModusGate software so administrators can scan archive files for forbidden attachments, enforce policies on e-mail content, and more easily monitor and report on the health of their e-mail systems. IronPort Systems also has introduced its newest compliance filters that provide a set of prepackaged compliance policies, making it easier to defend against outbound content compliance violations while maintaining system performance Finally, Mirapoint announced that its RazorGate e-mail security appliance now processes more than 25 million messages of throughput per day, a 50 percent improvement in the throughput of messages running more than 10,000 simultaneous incoming connections with Mirapoint's RAPID Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam applications. This performance improvement increases to 112 percent with Mirapoint's MailHurdle function switched on.

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