Antispam market weeds out weaker vendors

With spam blocking becoming a checklist item for network managers, antispam companies are developing complementary features and turning to new ways to deliver their technology with hopes of distinguishing themselves in this heavily crowded market.

Observers say the antispam market is taking the same turn the anti-virus market did years ago when it went from an over-hyped sector full of start-ups to just a handful of key players whose products dominate the market.

“It’s been a while since I’ve heard of a company coming out and saying, ‘I have the solution to spam,’ whereas two years ago that happened every other week,” says Matthew Prince, CEO of antispam consulting company Unspam. “It’s getting to be a mature market, and there are going to be just a couple of key players.”

Among those companies hoping to be one of the remaining key players is FrontBridge Technologies, which recently announced it is adding policy-based encryption to its Total Message Management service for outsourced e-mail security. The company has licensed Voltage Security’s Identity Based Encryption, which encrypts e-mail based on pre-defined policies pertaining to the sender, receiver or content. The recipient’s e-mail address acts as the public key; upon receiving an encrypted message, the recipient visits a secure FrontBridge Web site to authenticate, read and reply to the message, says Alan Akahoshi, product manager.

The new encryption service complements and goes beyond transport layer security that’s already available from FrontBridge, which encrypts a message as it travels from the customer to FrontBridge’s data centers.

The new security feature costs about US$5 per user, per month, with volume discounts available.

Also looking beyond traditional spam blocking is Proofpoint, which this week announced an upgrade to its e-mail security software and appliance that aims to ease the administration of content security.

Version 3.1 of its software and appliance includes upgraded modules that let non-IT users, such as compliance managers and human resources personnel, administer their own content security policies, says Andres Kohn, Proofpoint’s director of products.

The ability to easily set up policies to dictate what type of information can and cannot leave the company network is crucial for NRI Pacific, a Japanese system integrator and business consultant.

The U.S. division of NRI has been using Proofpoint’s appliance, and the company’s Japanese headquarters will begin using Version 3.1 to conform with recently passed privacy laws in that country, says Tatsuki Sakushima, IT security manager at the company’s San Mateo, Calif., office.

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