Vendors Wage War On Spam


As companies become increasingly frustrated with the spam inundating their networks, security vendors and others are snapping up antispam technology to add to their arsenals.

IntelliReach, an e-mail management solution provider in Dedham, Mass., plans to announce this week its acquisition of Chicago-based antispam startup MX Sciences. IntelliReach also plans to unveil its MessageScreen antispam solution, which is available as an appliance, hosted service or installed software.

The acquisition is the latest in a series of deals in the antispam market.

Earlier this month, Network Associates, Santa Clara, Calif., said it acquired antispam vendor Deersoft. Network Associates, which makes McAfee antivirus products, said the acquisition was the first of many investments it plans to make in spam- and content-filtering technologies.

Also, Postini, an e-mail security provider in Redwood City, Calif., said it signed a long-term deal to license its antispam engine to antivirus vendor Trend Micro, Cupertino, Calif.

The trend of antivirus vendors buying antispam solutions makes sense, said Phil Cox, consultant at SystemExperts, a security consulting firm in Sudbury, Mass. "Antivirus vendors are already tightly integrated into the messaging data flow, so it is logical that spam-control software would be part of their offering," he said.

Ferris Research predicts consolidation in the antispam market will continue over the next two years. Ultimately, customers will demand integrated solutions to address virus, content and spam rather than just stand-alone antispam products, the firm said.

Ferris said spam will cost U.S. companies more than $10 billion this year due to lost productivity, IT-resource consumption and help-desk support.

Solution providers said while clients are desperate for spam solutions, fighting spam is tough.

"There are a lot of people who are very frustrated, including myself, but I have not seen a great solution yet," said Duncan Alexander, vice president and principal at Alexander Open Systems, a Lenexa, Kan.-based networking integrator.

Solution providers said spammers are adept at thwarting antispam tools.

"It seems whenever someone comes up with a hot new [antispam] technology, spammers figure out a way to bypass it," said Landon Noll, a consultant at SystemExperts.

IntelliReach President Sam Levine said MessageScreen uses a scoring system to rate messages and effectively blocks spam without blocking legitimate e-mail. Pricing starts at $1,995.

Spam is a reality that isn't going away, so any effective antispam tool must minimize the time a user spends dealing with it, Cox said.