It's hard to believe that anyone running a business today would do so without using anti-virus or anti-spam protection but it happens more often than you might think. According to a study conducted by the Small Business Technology Institute, 20 percent of SMBs do not use anti-virus software to scan their e-mail the most common conduit of computer viruses and malware.
In an attempt to address that issue, Symantec, a recognized leader in security (and the sponsor of the study), today announced the Mail Security 8220, a hardware appliance designed to help small businesses protect their e-mail systems from viruses and spam.
With the addition of the 8220, Symantec claims that it is the first company to offer small businesses three different options for adding e-mail security: the appliance, stand-alone software for an existing server or a hosted service.
The three options let small businesses choose the type of solution that's best for them, according to Daniel Freeman, Symantec's senior product manager. "Small businesses have a range of needs. Some of them want an onsite appliance that can be installed quickly; others have their own hardware and the technical know-how they just need the software while some companies prefer a hosted service that just works without them having to do anything," he said.
The three deployment options also give small businesses added flexibility, Freeman said, since they can switch to a different method should their business situation and mail security needs change.
The appliance, built for Symantec by Dell, is designed for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that also have server or a local e-mail server and require a self-managed solution that's simple to install. The Mail Security 8220 Appliance sells for $995, plus the cost of the software.
Regardless of the delivery method, the price for Symantec's software remains consistent across the board. The company sells it software licenses on a per-user, per month basis in any increment between one and 100. Sample pricing works out as follows:
25 people: $20.72 per person per year. Total annual cost: $518
50 people: $20.70 per person per year. Total annual cost: $1,035
Anti-Spam plus Anti-Virus Software
25 people: $34.20 per person per year. Total annual cost: $855
50 people: $34.20 per person per year. Total annual cost: $1,710
The per-person cost for the software goes down if you pay upfront for a two- or three-year plan. Business owners can also increase or decrease the number of software licenses as needed, without losing any functionality.
Freeman said that protecting e-mail from viruses and spam should be an imperative for every small business owner He referred to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report (September 2005, Volume VIII) which found small businesses to rank second as industries most-targeted by hackers.
Statistics from the Radicati Group confirm that spam is a growth industry, with traffic nearly doubling in the next three years going from 116 billion messages in 2006 to 228 billion messages in 2009.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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