E-mail is, without question, a crucial communication tool, but it's also, without question, a huge security issue that every company large, small and in between must face or risk the consequences of unbridled spam, viruses and other assorted electronic attacks.
McAfee and Postini, two leaders in their respective fields of anti-virus and spam filtering, have joined forces to provide small businesses with a single, hosted solution to protect company e-mail from digital degradation.
The McAfee Secure Messaging Service for Small Business (SMS) is a hosted, e-mail filtering service designed to automatically protect against spam, viruses, phishing attacks, inappropriate content, directory harvest attacks (spammers trying to get lists of active e-mail addresses) and denial of service attacks.
The McAfee-branded product is based on Postini's patented Perimeter Manager product line.
Steve Steinhauer, senior product manager at McAfee refers to SMS as an "in the cloud" service. "That means you don't have to buy or install any hardware or software to use the product," he said. "Your in-bound e-mail gets re-routed through Postini's servers, where it's cleaned and filtered before it ever arrives at your company's or your network."
He added that this filtering improves security for customers since the threats are dealt with off-site. Of course, all of your out-bound e-mail gets filtered too, so you won't inadvertently send viruses to your clients or customers.
Pointing out the benefits of hosting Steinhauer said that McAfee provides all the management and support, which includes sending virus updates and patches to Postini where they're automatically applied to the entire customer base.
"Constantly updating, patching and managing an e-mail system can cost small businesses a lot of money and time. We take care of all the management issues, which gives small business owners one less onerous task to worry about and lets them focus on running their business. It's a set-it-and-forget-it kind of product."
E-mail security is an ever-changing threat, and staying informed about, and protected against every new hazard is a big challenge. "Small businesses suffer from the same challenges and problems as big businesses do, but they haven't had good, reliable products to help protect their e-mail infrastructure," Steinhauer said. "They lack the time, expertise and money required to fight this on their own."
Partnering with Postini makes a lot of sense according to Steinhauer, for three reasons. "Our companies have had a long-standing relationship to begin with," he said. "Plus we commissioned third-party testing, and it showed that Postini is the top performer in anti-spam detection with the lowest number of false positives."
The final reason McAfee chose to partner with Postini relates to that company's technical architecture. "The architecture is highly secure," said Steinhauer. "It's a patented system that ensures e-mail is safe and will not be lost. In addition, Postini has two fully redundant data centers one in California and the other in Illinois that provide excellent data security."
Postini sees nothing but good coming out of its relationship with McAfee. "We provide e-mail security for thousands of small and mid-sized businesses," said Andrew Lochart, Postini's senior director of marketing. "Our proven technology and experience running large-scale managed services will provide added depth to McAfee's Secure Messaging Service, while its widespread distribution network and trusted brand will strengthen Postini's growth."
Availability and Pricing
You can purchase McAfee's Secure Messaging Service for Small Business through the company's Web site or through any if its VARS and channel partners. The company also offers a free 30-day trial, if you care to try before you buy.
Pricing is set on a per mailbox, per year basis:
- 11 - 25 mailboxes: $36.44
- 26 - 50 mailboxes: $31.89
- 51 - 100 mailboxes: $28.89
Pricing goes up to 500 mailboxes. Contact McAfee for more information.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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