BorderWare unites e-mail, Web gateways

A Canadian maker of e-mail and Web security products is trying to break out of its small market share by abandoning the sale of separate gateways in favour of a unified approach.

BorderWare Technologies of Mississauga, Ont. said Monday that its new Security Platform 8.0 e-mail, Web and data loss prevention software runs on one appliance, giving network managers the ability to set security policies for both e-mail and the Web from a single interface.

“We’ve had a (separate) e-mail product and then a Web product, and data loss prevention was applied to both of those as well,” said Shawn Eldridge, the company’s vice-president of corporate marketing. “With the 8.0 release we’ve taken these different gateways and point products and build them as one product.”

As a result, he said, organizations will need fewer personnel to manage gateway security. The merged approach also improves security because many threats combine both e-mail and the Web – for example, an e-mail spam that includes a link to a site with dangerous downloads or graphics.

“It’s the next evolution of the industry,” said Eldridge, who believes BorderWare is the first of the gateway security providers to merge their products.

Gartner analyst Peter Firstbrook, director of the research company’s information security and privacy division, isn’t sure, believing that at least one competitor may have done the same. Still, he added, “I think it’s a smart way to go.” Administrators are free to dedicate a BorderWare gateway for either e-mail or a Web protection, or have one of each, a strategy that allows the platform to scale for enterprises.

Other competitors still force buyers to purchase more than one gateway for both e-mail and Web. Cisco System’s IronPort, for example, need one box for the gateway and one for the management system, Firstbrook said. BlueCoat’ Sytstems’ Web gateway system needs three appliances.

However, he acknowledged that BorderWare is an early mover. “It’s not earth shattering,” he said of the change. “I think it’s a nice release for the company. They’ve converged a lot of functions ahead of a lot of their competitors. The markets still catching up with that, and there’s opportunities.”

But the move will only make BorderWare more competitive against smaller players who sell similar products, he said, not the market leaders. Among e-mail gateway makers, the leaders are IronPort, with 17 per cent of the market, Trend Micro with 12 per cent and Symantec (including its BrightMail division) with 11 per cent. BorderWare trails with less than two per cent. Leading the Web gateway market is WebSense with 34 per cent of the market, followed by BlueCoat with 26 per cent. BorderWare has a negligible share of the market.

Eldridge said expanding BorderWare’s sales is exactly why the company changed strategies, which came after consulting customers. The company’s main targets are small and mid-sized organizations.

Security Platform 8.0 has a new interface similar to the ribbon Microsoft recently introduced with its Office productivity suite. (In fact BorderWare licenced the approach from Microsoft). SP 8.0 also includes a number of enhancements over the previous version.

They include:

Dynamic content filtering. A real-time software engine scans and controls by policy text typed in URL addresses, e-mail or instant messages. Policies can be linked to words or phrases, and set to individuals or groups.

Improved clustering and redundancy. Redundancy comes in the form of buying two gateway appliances, each of which can be set up to take up if the other fails.

Two new productivity tools, sold at extra charge: Web Permit is an authentication rights system which can limit where or when staffers can go on the Internet. Traffic Accelerator allows for the caching of Web content for improved speed, and sets rules for treating large file downloads.

BorderWare sells its rack-mountable gateways in four sizes based on performance. The Celeron-powered model 200 for small companies, the Dual Core Xeon-powered 460 for medium-sized firms, the 860 for enterprises and the 1060 Internet service providers, which has two Dual Core Xeon CPUs. The models come with storage, RAM and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. SP 8.0 comes with a minimum of 50 licences. The company also sells support in one, three and five-year packages.

Prices range from about $3,000 for a entry-level system, while a single gateway for a company with 1,000 users would cost about $12,000, Eldridge said.

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