Ironport Gets Tough On Spyware


Ironport, a San Bruno, Calif.-based security appliance vendor, last month moved beyond its traditional roots in e-mail security and released its S-Series appliance, which scans Web traffic at the gateway using signature analysis, said Tom Gillis, Ironport's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

At the core of the S-Series appliance is a high-speed malware scanning engine that's designed to incorporate signatures from multiple vendors to provide broad protection against spyware and other Web-based threats, Gillis said.

The signature-based approach enables fast scanning of Web traffic without latency, Gillis said. "The key point is that the engine does it all quickly enough to not affect a user's experience," he added.

Ironport recently revealed it has integrated technology from Webroot, Boulder, Colo., into the S-Series appliance, its first step toward the multivendor approach. Webroot's antispyware technology is appropriate for scanning Web traffic because it works quickly and leverages Webroot's large and continually updated database of spyware signatures, Gillis said.

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Spyware is a problem that's best tackled through the use of multiple vendors' technology because there's not a lot of overlap in the market and vendors tend to do things a little differently, said Tom MacArthur, principal at Storbase, a solution provider in Waltham, Mass.

And because the S-Series downloads reputation scores every five minutes, it offers close to realtime protection, which is important because spyware is so dynamic and adaptable, MacArthur said. "Ironport is the first to come out with a really rock-solid antispyware gateway appliance," he added.

Webroot CTO Gerhard Eschelbeck said Webroot's technology is versatile enough to work well in different environments. "It's all about multilayer protection. Webroot's strongest footprint is on the desktop, but our technology can be extremely applicable to the gateway as well," he said.

Gillis said Webroot is the first of "two or three" additional vendors that Ironport plans to partner with over the next year. "We're taking a best-of-breed approach: We give companies one box to manage and one throat to choke," Gillis said.