Proofpoint Offers SaaS Antispam Application


The new Proofpoint Shield, which is being sold exclusively through channel partners, reduces inbound e-mail volumes by as much as 90 percent and eliminates the need for businesses to continually buy more appliances to keep up with e-mail volumes, said Paul LaPorte, global solutions marketing manager at Proofpoint.

"You can shed 80 to 90 percent of your spam load before it ever reaches your corporate network," LaPorte said in an interview. "It's a huge total-cost-of-ownership savings."

For the month of January, spam accounted for nearly 80 percent of all e-mail messages scanned at mail gateways, according to a report from security software vendor Symantec. LaPorte said spam volumes continue to roughly double every year, despite the short-term plunge in spam volumes in November when a San Jose, Calif.-based Web hosting service responsible for as much as 75 percent of all spam e-mails was knocked offline.

With the ever-increasing volume of e-mail that needs to be filtered, companies are constantly increasing their on-premise e-mail filtering capacity by purchasing more appliances, a never-ending game of catch-up LaPorte called "appliance fatigue." He said the amount of spam that's directed at specific companies and even individuals is also growing.

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Proofpoint Shield is an on-demand service that works in conjunction with on-premise appliances. Customers route their incoming e-mail through the service that takes a first pass at filtering it, identifying e-mails with IP addresses from known spammers and inspecting message content to flag e-mails that are blatantly spam or malicious messages. The service uses the company's Proofpoint Dynamic Reputation and netMLX technology to scrutinize e-mails. Messages not categorized as spam or malicious e-mails are forwarded to the customer's on-site spam filtering appliance for additional scrutiny.

The service can reduce inbound e-mail volume by 80 to 90 percent, LaPorte said. That reduces a company's need to buy more appliances to keep up with e-mail volumes, which, in turn, lowers labor, network and energy costs, and helps prevent denial-of-service and directory harvesting attacks.

Proofpoint said the new service is compatible with its own Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway appliances and with appliances from a number of other vendors, including Cisco' Systems' IronPort, McAfee's Secure Computing/CipherTrust, Symantec, Trend Micro and Tumbleweed.

Proofpoint is selling the service exclusively through the channel on an annual subscription basis, priced starting at $1,500. Resellers get a percentage of the subscription fee and can build value-added services around Proofpoint Shield. Because the service works with antispam appliances from multiple vendors, LaPorte said carrying the service could help solution providers sell to new customers.

Proofpoint already offers Proofpoint on Demand, a Software-as-a-Service spam-filtering solution specifically targeting large companies that require a dedicated hosted system. LaPorte said the new Proofpoint Shield, which will be hosted in the same data centers as Proofpoint on Demand, is the first of a line of "hybrid" SaaS/on-demand products the vendor is developing.