SurfControl Brings More Watchful Eye To E-Mail Security

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SurfControl this week plans to unveil E-Mail Filter 4.0, a new version of its e-mail filtering software, plus a new add-on tool to help companies prevent confidential data from being divulged.

Called Virtual Learning Agent (VLA), the new component learns which material a company deems sensitive,such as product-development or acquisition plans,and enables businesses to manage and filter e-mail containing that material, said Paris Trudeau, product marketing manager at SurfControl, based here.

The VLA tool, an optional component in SurfControl's filtering software, gauges the statistical probability and frequency of words to determine if data is proprietary, Trudeau said. If VLA determines that an e-mail contains sensitive information, it can isolate the message for review by an administrator, she said.

Executives at Halifax, a solution provider that serves government and commercial customers, said their clients would be interested in VLA's capabilities.

"Most of our clients deal with highly sensitive material,financial material, patient information and taxpayer records," said Tom Basile, vice president of sales and marketing at Halifax, Alexandria, Va. "We see [VLA as a significant addition to our solution."

New features in E-Mail Filter 4.0 include file-attachment compression and numeric pattern recognition. The software can automatically compress large file attachments to manage bandwidth, Trudeau said. It also can recognize numeric pattern sequences to prevent the release of credit-card or financial data.

Some of Halifax's commercial customers use SurfControl's E-Mail Filter to block inappropriate material and viruses, said Jeff Slane, senior account manager at the solution provider.

E-Mail Filter 4.0 costs roughly $18 per user, based on an installation of 500 users. VLA is sold separately and costs $1,150 for 100 users. The software can scale from SMBs to large enterprises, Trudeau said.

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