Symantec adds devices to filter e-mail

The dramatic growth in the volume of computer viruses and spam e-mail is continuing to push demand for products that can filter and block messages before they clog servers and networks. Next week, Symantec Corp. is expected to add to the choices available to users by releasing two security appliances that blend antispam and virus-protection technologies.

The Mail Security 8100 and 8200 devices integrate antivirus, content-filtering and traffic management capabilities with the antispam technology that Cuptertino, Calif.-based Symantec acquired last year when it bought software vendor Brightmail Inc.

The 8200 is designed to restrict or block messages coming from servers that send spam. It also can check messages for viruses and scan inbound and outbound content for prohibited material, said Daniel Freeman, a product manager at Symantec.

The 8100 is targeted at larger customers, and it includes many of the features that are in the 8200, with one major addition. The 8100 offers a patent-pending function that’s designed to control the flow of e-mail by identifying spam servers and slowing the rate at which they can send messages to a corporate network, said Freeman.

The 8200 starts at US$1,995, and the 8100 has a base price of $4,995. The multifunction nature of the new appliances makes them interesting, said Tom MacArthur, a principal at Storbase Corp. The Waltham, Mass.-based systems integrator has found the 8200 to be fast, effective and easy to manage during tests, MacArthur said.

Several other companies offer similar products. For instance, Alpharetta, Ga.-based CipherTrust Inc. markets e-mail security appliances, while U.K.-based Sophos PLC sells software with the same functionality.

In addition, vendors such as MessageLabs Ltd. in New York and FrontBridge Technologies Inc. in Marina del Rey, Calif., offer e-mail filtering services. Where Symantec has an edge is in the Web-based management functions that are supported by its appliances, said Jonathan Penn, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.

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