Spammed A Lot? Postini Says It Can Help

Monday Mar 21st 2005 by Lauren Simonds
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The company says its new e-mail security service keeps spam, viruses and other electronic nastiness from even getting in the door.

Small businesses get spammed a lot — not to be confused with Spamalot, the new Broadway play based on the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Popular culture aside, small businesses rarely have either the time, money or IT resources that big companies have to spend on eradicating spam.

Postini, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company that specializes in e-mail security and management services, today announced the Postini Perimeter Manager Small Business Edition. The software service is designed to stop spam, viruses and other e-mail threats (such as DoS attacks and Trojan Horses) before they ever reach your company's computers.

Guarding the Perimeter
Andrew Lochart, Postini's director of product marketing, calls the new product a managed, outsourced or hosted service. It works like this: a company buys the service from Postini, and then the company's e-mail — both incoming and outgoing — is routed through Postini's servers first for evaluation and cleansing.

Lochart notes that it's easier to take care of spam before it makes itself at home on your e-mail server. "I like to use a bouncer analogy," Lochart said. "A bouncer stands outside the bar and stops trouble before it enters the building. That's what Perimeter Manager does for your e-mail."

Postini claims that it delivers only 12 percent of all the e-mail it receives, which means that 88 percent, or approximately nine-out-of-every-ten e-mail, is some kind of threat.

"Why let that junk arrive at all?" asked Lochart. "If you're not blocking spam before it arrives, your server has to handle nine times as much e-mail then it needs to. That translates into spending money on more hardware to handle the demand. Let someone else deal with it."

Small Business Edition
Postini offers three different versions of Perimeter Manager — Enterprise Edition, Service Provider Edition and now, Small Business Edition. The company decided to develop a Small Business Edition as a result of feedback from its thousands of SMB customers who were using the Enterprise Edition.

"Our SMB customers told us they loved the service, but that it could be easier to activate and configure," said Lochart. "We wanted to create a service designed to meet the specific needs of small businesses."

Some of those differences typically include less-elaborate hardware infrastructures where an SMB may have one server versus dozens. Also, Lochart said that small companies have fewer employees and generally don't need to institute as many e-mail rules and policies. And of course, SMBs have limited IT resources.

Lochart said that SMBs received 10 times as much spam as do large companies, primarily because those companies have the resources to train their employees on how to use their business e-mail addresses safely.

According to Lochart, the Small Business Edition service is easy to activate and to configure. Maintenance isn't an issue since you don't have to install any hardware, software, updates or patches. "In Perimeter Manager SBE, all the hard work goes on behind the scenes," he said. "Small businesses don't have to worry. They get to say, 'Just make the problem go away.'"

Pricing
Perimeter Manager Small Business Edition is a subscription service that costs $25 per-person per-year (based on a one- or two-year contract). The price includes all maintenance and upgrades.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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